Talk with them…

I’m learning as much as you right now. If you are a marketer or an advertiser then you need to be talking with your customers and not at them. We have been talking about that for a while now.  IDC just came out with a report that says that advertisers are failing miserably at communicating with social net users. Why? Because they are used to pushing shoving? their info and their product down people’s throats. According to IDC:

There are four major reasons why consumers use SNS: to connect and communicate; in response to peer-pressure; for entertainment; and for work-related purposes. Advertising does not factor into consumer motivations.

Ouch. So essentially advertisers still don’t get it. Keep reading, it gets better. IDC continues,

One of the potential benefits of SNS that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars. Anecdotally, there has been some indication that this “social advertising” might be more effective than behavioral targeting. However, that idea is stillborn. Of all U.S. Internet users, only 3% would allow publishers to use contact information for advertising. For instance, publishers could show a car manufacturer’s ads to a user’s contacts because that user’s online behavior has indicated that she is interested in a particular brand of cars.

If you have been reading some of the thought leaders in the social media marketing space like a Jason Falls, like a Beth Harte or Amber Naslund or Valeria Maltoni or Paul Chaney– they have stressed the importance of brand champions and community influencers who can shape the decisions and actions of the group or community or social net-naturally.

IDC’s report says that “One of the potential benefits of Social networks is that the advertising industry has discussed is whether peoples’ connections (i.e., whom a user knows or is linked to) could be used for advertising.”

I’m not sure what to think. Should I admonish IDC for putting out a report in which this comes as to no surprise to a lot of us? Or should advertisers be ashamed for not listening to some of the people I mentioned above who so obviously “Get it”? and have been saying what was put out in the report for a long time? A LONG TIME. IDC and advertisers could have saved a lot of grief, time and money just by listening to what is being written and talked about every day online in blogs and on Twitter.

Advertisers need to start listening to the thought leaders in the social media space to start with.

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5 thoughts on “Talk with them…

  1. Unfortunately, everyone is trying to figure out how to make a buck. And instead of joining the conversation, they just want to continue using their traditional tactics to interrupt what we are conversing about. That said, even Twitter will be monetized one day because there are back-end costs and someone will have to pay the price. The more I think about it, the more I’d rather pay a fee to join Twitter than see ads pop-up in my Twitterstream (Ev, are you listening?!).

    I have seen banner ads in socnets that never really bothered me, because they weren’t dumped into the middle of a conversation/thread, but at the top of the site.

    And, both the advertising industry and the IDC should be admonished for suggesting that people use their connections for advertising. That’s just in bad taste. It’s like showing up to a party and handing out ads to people there. Maybe that’s what a lot of folks aren’t getting. Social media and social networks are the same interactions (and etiquette) that would would have off-line.

  2. The hard reality of this – like any other space – is that there will forever be people that “don’t get it”. And frankly, I’m ok with that.

    More and more, I’m realizing that I’m not in the business of beating my head against a brick wall to convince someone that they need to rethink their marketing and communications. Instead, I’m in the business of helping those with the curiosity and right attitude move forward and leave their competition in the dust.

    I’m being flip, but truthfully there is always an ignorant sector of the population that will never convert. They’re the same ones that are still arguing that press releases are what drive media placements and that the .03% response on their multi-million dollar direct mail campaign is cause for celebration.

    I am content to move boldly forward and walk with those that are ready to blaze a new trail. The rest of ’em can keep burning their dollars in the advertising spending while the rest of us are capturing their market share and earning customers for the long haul.

  3. The banner ad campaign that Banana Republic did (or is still doing) is the kind of thing marketers should consider. It talks about “Sprucing up the profile” and asks that you first fix up your LinkedIn profile. Then it suggests considering your offline profile.

    That’s understanding the reason people are using the network, and working on insights about that reason.

    I preach listen, and part of my plate now has thinking through tools for our agency to listen. But i also preach relevance. We say marketers are looking to make a buck, and that’s true. Brands don’t advertise because of philanthropy, they do it to sell product. Still, there’s a way to do it less overt and interruptive.

    Remember, we advertising people have been in the interruptive business for over 50 years. And for the last decade, as more channels (literal TV ones and figurative online ones) came into being, our response was to get MORE interruptive. So this will be a learning curve. But the smart ones are up to it.

  4. Pingback: Banana Republic is smart « People like to share

  5. Like Banana Republic, two other brands that stick out as leaders in the advertising-meets-social media space to be emulated are Harley Davidson and Victoria’s Secret. One only needs to see their Facebook pages and the number of “fans,” not to mention constantly-updated content –and paid Google links– to grasp how it can work.

    To Beth’s point about receiving ads at cocktail parties, is that not what a business card is now? Maybe more marketing material than advertising, but the goal is the same: to make a buck. Will the time come (and it may be soon) when business cards are passe and one only needs to pull a Scott Monty and give the recipient instructions how to Google you?

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