Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - How to Talk with Customers Differently

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@Lewis - I'm glad you mentioned that incident, it goes to context as well. You are correct, nobody is getting off the proverbial hook here, just making observations about humans being humans.

@CB - I think we bridge it with attitude and a renewed sense of respect for service. It's about "and/and", we do need to address all interactions in all channels. But it is the interaction that needs addressing, not the channel per se.

@Leigh - I worked in the highly regulated chemical industry as well as in financial services. Yes, there are constrains that other industries do not face there. Lots of people get involved in those kinds of decisions, in any corporation, that I do know. And unless there is a strong support to be proactive and engaged, it remains something they dance around. The other side of the coin is that these regulations are put in place for checks and balances in the products we consume. As I wrote on Twitter, we cannot have it both ways. Thank you for sharing this really good piece.


Thanks for the post.

I agree that Motrin had a great opportunity to respond and engage. However, I think many people fail to understand the very real challenges ANY company in the pharmaceutical realm faces with regard to engaging in "open, transparent dialog with customers."

J&J has been a client. I am sure there were many very smart people who had the desire to come out and engage #motrinmoms. The problems is, unlike Zappos and Comcast and Starbucks... J&J Has staggering legal and compliance issues with which to contend. On top of this, like many companies in the pharmaceutical realm, they've got culture issues steeped in a regulatory reality, and they typically do not move quickly with any issue of legal magnitude.

Cumulatively, this makes it nearly impossible to dialog directly with customers without facing compliance and adverse events reporting risks. This puts a real damper on any kind of transparency and open dialog. Many of these companies aren't even allowed to look at individual customer data due to HIPAA regulations. They store customer data externally, look at feedback anonymously, etc.

I'd LOVE to tell J&J how to mobilize and engage and I DO believe their holistic response could have been done better. However, it was exactly what I expected based on my experience with economies of scale.

For some of their brands (e.g. Baby shampoo) a more proactive approach to social media may be easier to undertake than others (anything health care related).

Unfortunately, as with MANY aspects of customer experience, the obstacles present here are big, heavy, legal, operational and cultural ones....

It took about eight years for pharmaceutical companies to embrace the web - and I don't anticipate social media engagement will come along much faster than this.

So I realize that I'm not answering your question directly... I just felt the need to highlight a point that many people seem to be overlooking.

Moving foward, I think Motrin folks could definitely do some data mining and analysis on this as a case study. By examining posts, feeds, discussion streams and comments they could understand where they went wrong and map the dialog. Perhaps they could create a list of dissenters and work on an ad campaign recruiting those people to co-create a new ad campaign and issue PR around this. Whatever they do, they need to do so without engaging the larger audience one-to-one in social media. That's just the business reality they're dealing with right now.

Thanks for listening!

@Frank - thank you, you are kind. That's why I think it's important for the community out here to support those communicators and marketers inside organizations who are evangelizing the connection.

@Mary - you captured the dilemma with evangelist/trouble maker. Indeed habits die hard. But support is within reach with colleagues and peers as the ones commenting here and interacting online. We are attuned to helping each other.

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