When It Comes To Taking a Stand, Do Consumer Boycotts Work?

From the boycotting of sponsors after Rush Limbaugh’s recent controversial comments to staying away from the Miami Marlins baseball games after manager Ozzie Guillen praised Fidel Castro, consumer boycotts have made headlines as of late, as folks are “voting with their feet” in order to make a point. But do they work? Bruce discusses the consumer boycott phenomenon among other topics, including the cruise ship experience, the conservative mindset, and the importance of breaking through your psychological and geographic comfort zone when it comes to selling your good or service.

When you think about a service business that is largely a personal interaction, it’s a much more difficult business. Fortunately what we have done is we’ve now created kind of a self service world with the internet where much of the infrastructure allows you to do your own search, to do your own sourcing, to do your own servicing on products. You go to help desks and so forth, so there’s this constant touching of databases. But Ed Levit said that, “A service is something you don’t know what you don’t get until you don’t get it.” When you order a computer you got something tangible in front of you and if it doesn’t work you know it doesn’t work, but you don’t know why it doesn’t work…So once you start questioning about, “Do I fix it? Does somebody else fix it? Who’s supposed to be responsible for seeing that this product has the right software on it? Or does the software itself heal itself?” All of those kinds of questions become intangible, so we haven’t really learned how to work in a service world. More and more of our, quite frankly, businesses are service related businesses because the components themselves are all readily available to put together, but it’s this ability to service, develop, interact and use software that connects everything and allows it to be adjusted to a specific circumstance, it’s really much more of a service world.

— Regis McKenna, Founder, Regis McKenna Inc.

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