Listening is a major Sea Change bugaboo. What I mean by that is we believe that non-profits rarely if ever attempt to listen to their donors — or list members — and when they do, it usually takes the form of a slap-dash surveymonkey survey. And that comes at a price.

Corporate America is way ahead on the listening front, and is adapting more quickly to the tsunami of new expectations that are part of the marketer-marketee relationship.

Here is but one example from a recent Ad Age:

To develop its new Aloft brand, expected to launch in 2008, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide invited hundreds of travel-savvy consumers to join a private online community dedicated to helping the company reimagine the hotel experience. Over the past several months, these consumers have advised Starwood on how to make the hotel experience different and fun compared with the all-too-typical concrete-and-polyester hotel experience, what to name the new brand, what services to include, the design and style of the space and furnishings, how to introduce the concept, and even what they think of the Aloft prototype in the virtual world Second Life.