My Customers Will NEVER Use Social Media! | Unskippable - Marketing Keynote Speaker - Jim Kukral

My Customers Will NEVER Use Social Media!

jfk_lookIn my presentation called “Beyond the Website” (watch here) I have a slide that says this.

“The Internet is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never be online.” – Unnamed 1990’s executive.

I don’t remember where I found that quote online, and I have no idea if it’s real or not (I bet it is). But I love it because it illustrates the short-sighted approach that many people take when emerging trends and technologies grab the hearts and minds of the world.

The thing is, people are still saying that quote, but today they’re inserting social media in place of “the Internet”. You know, things like Twitter, and Facebook and Myspace and all the rest. All of those things are just for kids and geeks… right.

Let’s redo the quote for effect. You know you know somebody like this.

“Social media is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never use social media.” – Unnamed executive.

At this point I could go on and on about how that’s a big fail waiting to happen, and most surely a pink slip for the person who said it down the road as their business lags behind competitors who didn’t think that way.

However… let’s not do that. Let’s prove them wrong. On another slide in my presentation I point to a BusinessWeek piece that defines the 6 types of social media users.

BIG Image of above graphic

If you could really dig into this slide you would see that it’s not just kids that are using social media. The scale skews to younger, sure, but in fact, this data (which is two years old btw) does indeed show a major trend toward “older” people using social media in all kinds of facets.

Ignore social media at your own peril. This is your last warning!

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Cathy Stucker - April 22, 2009

Jim, a couple of years ago someone told me that her company had decided not to do a blog because they had done a customer survey and 75% of them said they didn't read blogs. I pointed out two problems with that:

1) Many of those in the 75% probably didn't know what a blog was. They likely were reading them without realizing they were reading blogs.
2) Even if their customers don't read blogs, lots of other people do. Are you in this only for your existing customers, or do you want to attract new customers, too?

I guess we should be grateful that some people automatically reject anything new. It makes it easier for us to take their market share.

Jim Kukral - April 22, 2009

Great point Cathy. I am grateful that people reject it. You're so right, it gives us all a much easier time at crushing them. :)

dougmcisaac - April 23, 2009


Thanks for the great info, I'm preparing for a series of local presentations on social marketing and may even have one for the local Chamber of Commerce. You've given me some great info to share.


Rick Wion - April 23, 2009

I loved this post. It reminded me of when I proposed a Web site for my former company to the CMO back in 1996. He listened politely to my presentation (with a budget of $15,000) and he said, "This Internet thing is a fad. Mark my words, in two years, you will never hear about it again." Oh, where have you gone, Bob Kaufman? Last I heard, that company was pulling in somewhere near $25 million per year in online orders.

hüseyin kar - April 23, 2009

very nice

Jeff M. Miller - April 23, 2009

What's the possibility of getting a link to that bizweek graphic? I'm preparing a presentation on this subject for my church, and I'd love to see the thing full size so I can scrutinize it better. Thanks in advance.

    Jim Kukral - April 23, 2009

    Jeff, I can't find the web link, but what I did was give you the BIG version of the image if you want to use it. If you find the web link let me know?

      Jeff M. Miller - April 23, 2009

      Fantastic! Thank you very much. I'll certainly return the favor if I find the link.

Christine Fife - April 24, 2009

It's so funny that we continue to see/hear people say things like this. Even if the majority of people using social media are young, uh, hello, those people will grow up–does someone think they'll stop using social media tools/sites after they hit a magic age? If your business isn't thinking about future customers (the young kids) now, they'll be in serious trouble later.

diabetic symptoms - April 27, 2009

thank you, I'm not sure but it may just be what your analysis is correct and there are widespread

Alan Underkofler - April 28, 2009

Short sided comments and thoughts about new ideas or changing a approach is so common! We have such a hard time with change sometimes… I was speaking to a group last month and had someone arguing about how much business she gets from the phone book! I asked it this room represented her ideal customers and she said yes… I then asked the room if anyone had opened a phone book in the last 30 days to please stand up… 60 days, 90 days, 6 months? One year? At one year I think 2 people were standing… I find it so sad when you are talking to a business owner knowing how much Social Media can help them and yet they just don''t understand… Like the person still advertising in the phone book.. Change is hard for some people!

Would love to see an updated Business Week chart! I know it has changed a lot by now…

MLDina - April 30, 2009

I hate that short-sighted, narrow minded view! Whenever a new trend or service comes along, there are so many businesses that don't see the potential. Your example brings up a great point. Too many think social media can't help their business- their customers aren't online. Wrong! It's equally easy to jump on the social media bandwagon without understanding your audience, though. I've seen quite a few brands have one-sided conversations with their audience, clearly not using the benefits of tools like Twitter and Facebook appropriately. Social media management needs to be a job function for all growing and existing brands, if not an entire job!

    underground fence - October 28, 2009

    Even I don't like that short minded or narrow minded view, i don't think there is anyone these days that would have that kind of a mind set at all.

¿Por qué las empresas evitan el Social Media? | Nativo Digital - August 27, 2009

[…] Parece que a los adultos le gustan los juegos de “niños” ahora. Les dejo esta interesante cita: “Social media is for kids and geeks, and MY customers will never use social media.” – Unnamed executive. […]

Dan @ InSync - July 1, 2011

It is pretty funny how people react like this. I always get excited by emerging trends and see opportunity and possibility, where some more traditional types tend to see risk and danger – You need to see both sides, surely?

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