Keen On… Aaron Shapiro: Innovating Customers Into Users (TCTV)

Can we save the physical book? Some say that a bookless world may be inevitable. Others are more sanguine, seeing the Apple retail model potentially revolutionizing the traditional old bookstore. And then there are those who are trying to save the physical book by next generation marketing, creating innovative campaigns to reinvent the old medium.

Aaron Shapiro is the author of the new book Users Not Customers: Who Really Determines the Success of Your Business, as well as the CEO of the advertising agency Huge. Riffing off the death of the Borders chain, Shapiro employed some recently unemployed Borders sales assistants to sell his new book from old pushcarts on the streets of New York City. And while this cleverly ironic campaign may not have resulted in huge sales, it got a lot of coverage and should be an inspiration to any author looking to build buzz around their book.

Shapiro’s message is the medium of his PR stunt. Creating users not customers, he explained to me over Skype, means making the end-user experience the key part of any 21st century company. And thus while we can’t all be Google or Amazon, we can – if we learn from innovative marketing guys like Shapiro – learn to survive in today’s increasingly customer-centric business environment.