There has been a lot of talk and buzz around crowdsourcing. Social media too is shifting the control from marketers to a "network of customers" who influence product/brand preferences and purchase decisions. Many marketers have been using this power effectively. Here's an example of how customers have got together against what they believe is an unfair practice. The interesting point to note here is that 7-Eleven stores have provided the platform for consumers to get together and voice their concern. It's an example of a great platform owned by a marketer to get together with their customers' for a cause. It drives authencity and trust between the marketer and their customers. Take a look:
" 7-Eleven has announced that its franchisees and store operators have collected more than 1.6 million signatures in the "Stop Unfair Credit Card Fees" petition drive. 7-Eleven says it believes this marks the largest number of signatures collected for a public policy issue on record.The signature drive ran from June 22 through Aug. 10 at store counters coast to coast.
"Consumer response to this grassroots petition drive exceeded expectations," said Joe DePinto, 7-Eleven president and CEO. "Customers share our frustration over the hidden fees that American retailers and, ultimately, consumers are forced to pay. They, too, want Congress to take action to regulate these unfair fees, which are the highest in the industrialized world."
Interchange fees aren't transparent to the consumer and assessed to store owners every time a consumer uses a credit card. These charges result in higher prices which are borne by all consumers, whether or not they use a card or cash. In 2008 alone, these fees cost American businesses and their customers $48 billion. According to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS) 2008 State of the Industry data, on average, an American convenience store owner paid 63 percent more in transaction fees than they earned in profits."
If you as a marketer genuinely believe there is a cause you can take-up for your customers, do that with conviction. Get them together, become a platform for their conversations and they will surprise you with their response overwhelmingly.