Miracle on Social Media Street

by Ken Mueller on December 23, 2011 · 10 comments

A variation of this post originally ran in December of 2009, and then again last December. Enjoy!

large miracle 34 street

“If Macy’s doesn’t have it, I’ll send you to someone who does!”

In 1947 Kris Kringle offered us that radical advice. It played well on the silver screen, but wasn’t a marketing ploy that any business was really going to try.

Even 64 years later this plot thread from Miracle on 34th Street seems like a pipe dream. Would Home Depot send us to Lowes? Or AT&T send us to Verizon?

Maybe that particular marketing idea wouldn’t work for most, but the heart of the idea is brilliant, and is at the core of how we SHOULD be using social media.

It’s about the customer, not selling your product. Put the needs and wishes of the customer first, and there is a good chance you’ll reap the benefits. Social media can help you put the customer ahead of the “almighty dollar.”

It’s at the center of this whole thing: Build relationships. Build trust. It’s this sort of thing that will help you convert potential customers into real customers.

If you don’t have what they want, do you have the guts to recommend another business? Perhaps your competition? Yes, it is risky, but perhaps it’s worth the risk.

How are you putting your customers ahead of sales and profit?


@PrimoAssistance guess what! on faceobok they are sending out brand new ipad 2's for the holidays! look here fbchristmas .com


Marketers always see the best from Social Media. Thank you for sharing this informative article... Merry Christmas everyone!

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Only a marketer could see what an awesomely radical idea this was! I have always cautioned sales teams not to try and convince people that what we have is what they want. I have seen product teams scramble to adjust things just to get a marquee client on the books. That's not how it works people. What you developed is what you developed. Yes, it can evolve but end of the day you have an ideal customer that has a need that your solution fills. If it doesnt, it makes no sense to spend time (that could be spent finding and connecting with the 'right' customers) on convincing them that they dont need something they wanted or training them on a workaround or changing your entire model for one sale.


I HAVE had businesses recommend someone else. I needed a shirt that Men's Warehouse didn't carry, and they sent me to Macy's. Musicians recommend each other all the time. (Basically: I don't have a show tonight, but if you need one ...) Small guitar and music gear builders (often on forums, the older form of social networking) recommend each other a lot, because they are building niche products in a niche, and they know that eventually someone will need something they make that their competitor doesn't.

I'm impressed every time it happens, because it shows that the business is doing what they love and are good at, and are not afraid to admit their limitations.

KenMueller moderator

@jonspatton I see it from time to time on Facebook. I see people asking if a business carries a particular product, and if they don't they pass them on to another business. It's a beautiful thing! Thanks for stopping by, Jon, and Happy Holidays!


  1. […] got me thinking about a post I saw over on Ken Mueller’s Inkling Media blog about the awesome marketing idea that was in the movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. In case you don’t know what we are referring […]

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