Marketing vs. Conversation

JDeragon
Jay Deragon NextGen Digital Strategis, Strategic Intentions

Posted on July 7th 2008

The mindset of marketers view the social web as a place to create buzz from viral marketing. The mindset of the people is that the social web is a place to converse, connect and share their own media. And marketers wonder why click through rates from on line advertising has gone down.

PHYLLIS KORKKI writes in the New York Times: “The idea behind viral marketing is irresistible: plant your message in the right place, then sit back and watch people spread it through social networks, e-mail and word-of-mouth.”

“It really should work. After all, the viruses that lead to diseases and computer breakdowns spread all too easily — even when we desperately try to stop them. But trying to infuse some positive and constructive energy into metaphorical viruses turns out to be very hard. According to a report by JupiterResearch, “24 percent of marketers have run a viral marketing campaign, but many struggle to get the expected buzz.”

“Marketers aren't giving up the fight. They plan to continue their viral efforts on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace through such tools as fan pages and special videos. But marketers still need to deploy complementary efforts like traditional advertising, Jupiter says. Otherwise, they face a society that is all too quick to develop natural immunities to their efforts.”

Are Conversations Immune to Marketing

People don't drive down the highway to read the billboards. They drive down a highway to get somewhere. People don't engage in the social web to read billboards rather they engage to connect, converse and share with other people.

Marketers like to create buzz. People create buzz through threaded conversations about anything and everything. People remember conversations and the social web connects the conversations one to one to millions. People remember brands based on a product or service performance. If people are satisfied with a product/service performance it doesn't necessarily equate to threaded conversations. If a product/service performance exceeds people's expectation then maybe, just maybe, people will discuss the experience with others.

Conversations are between two or more people. If marketers want to create buzz throughout the social web then they'd better represent a product/service that exceeds people's expectations. Otherwise trying to interrupt conversations with a product or service that hasn't performed well may in fact turn the conversations against you.

Get it? What say you?

JDeragon

Jay Deragon

NextGen Digital Strategis, Strategic Intentions

Jay Deragon — is an author, NextGen strategist and speaker based in Nashville, TN. Jay is driven to help organizations realize and fulfill their purpose.

As someone who has grown and sold numerous businesses — from several web start ups to a mobile technology offering and built a management consulting firm plus worked with Fortune 500 firms — over the last 25 years, Jay knows what it takes to make business meaningful and valuable.

He's worked with major companies like IBM, Fox News, Nextel, ESPN, Disney and many others as well as numerous technology startups. He's provided a variety of strategic consulting services to help organizations develop new product strategies, enter new markets, defend against competitors, and optimize revenues. 

He's provided strategic services for companies worldwide. Industries served include: Aviation, Financial, Insurance, Wireless, Education, Cable, Non-Profit, Healthcare, Entertainment, Media, Retail and Technology.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Well said Jay.  As Seth Godin points out in The Purple Cow it all starts out with something remarkable, be it a product or an idea.  Unfortunately most people can quickly determine when they see (to use the well-known expression) "lipstick on a pig."  Often marketers also forget that ideas spread between entities that have a relationship with each other and in order to get a "virus" to spread the company needs to have close relationships with it's intended audience/customers.  No close contact and viruses just don't start spreading at all.  Great post.  Looking forward to others.
David:Thanks for the comments and your response has some golden nuggets in it that I intend on using with attributes to you.  Thanks again
Great post - and a good reminder that it's not enough for marketers to simply join in the conversation. We actually have to have something valuable to say.