The Customer Doesn't Care - Oh Really?

I understand the point the author is trying to make - quit making excuses about why your marketing plan or business model just isn’t working the way you want. The customer doesn’t live in your world anymore, you live in theirs.  I get that. But this conclusion bugged me:

“In a world of infinite choice and 24/7 availability, they will just go elsewhere. Because the customer doesn’t care.”

It is not a world of infinite choice, we are not connected and interacting 24/7, and we DO care.  The hyperbole may make fun reading and generate lots of saber-rattling commentary, but the idea that consumers will abandon a brand at the slightest inconvenience or disappointment is ludicrous. There is such a thing as brand loyalty, because there is a reason why someone bought a brand. It makes them feel good and it is a reflection of who they are. Classic group membership.  

The author does raise some excellent points about the competitive world in which we live, and the importance of not blaming poor results on customers “not understanding.” It’s your job as a marketer to understand the environment in which you compete and mitigate risk by developing an appropriate strategy or adjusting your business model. Sometimes this strategy is an exit. If you can’t figure out how to implement a strategy that allows you to profitably compete due to your cost structure or business environment, get out. Don’t delay the inevitable.  

I’m not saying consumers will blindly continue to buy your product if your brand isn’t competitive, but if you’ve successfully built a brand over time but recently hit a rough patch, my advice is don’t panic. Figure out if you can make the adjustments that can help you compete in the emerging world the author describes (it’s not there yet in the form he describes, but I do agree it is moving quickly), and be honest with yourself.