So this calls for newer and innovative ways of customer attraction and retention strategies. Social Media gives a lot of promise in terms of participation, engagement, permission, collaboration etc which has brought the customers and the companies in the same platform.
"...Mass media has become increasingly fragmented and viewers’ engagement levels have decreased. Only 5% of the viewers watch TV ads and 30% of the viewers watch TV while reading the newspaper" (tweet) by Stephan Loerke (PPT Link), Managing Director, World Federation of Advertisers.
But the question is why should you care?
One of the reason is, you like it or not, your customers will definitely talk about you and the web has given them a apt platform to raise their voice to appreciate as well as criticize you.
Now the worst scenario is that your customers are not talking about you at all. Think about it. They don't care about you. But they necessarily need not be negative conversations. They well could be constructive discussions filled with chances to learn about your customers and what you need to do to make them happy. Happy people buy more and tell their friends. It's your prerogative whether to join the conversation or not or rather we can say "To Participate or not to Participate is the question"!
The best outcome is that those who are talking about you are spreading the word on your business - Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell called them Citizen Marketers. The worst case scenario is that those customers who talked about you even once stopped doing so, they did not think you cared about what they were saying, so they stopped caring about you and your business - you become invisible to them (and increasingly their friends).
So letting your customers talk about your brands make a lot of difference since it makes "Meaning beyond Money".