Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A Lot of Talking...But is Anyone Listening?

Over the past two weeks I've had the pleasure of moderating two panel discussions on Beyond Analog: Becoming Part of Today's Digital Marketing World. The Webinars were sponsored by the American Marketing Association as member-only events, and were precursors to the AMA's Mplanet 2009 conference slated for January in Orlando, FL. On the panel were Julie Fleischer of Digitas, Greg Verdino of crayon, llc, and Toby Bloomberg of Bloomberg Marketing.

One of the slides Toby shared had to do with a graphic created by Brian Solis and Jess3 called the Conversation Prism. This masterfully illustrated wheel identifies all the various ways the social Web is integrating itself into peoples' lives...or the other way around. Either way, it is an amazing look at the proliferation of engagement technologies. But with all the ways we have to talk to one another, to review, share, tweet, input, output, post, publish, update, and edit -- the larger question is if anyone is listening, or are we all just talking into the ether.

There are already many places where you can find the number of estimated blogs, Web sites, and users of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Second Life, and cyworld. Needless to say, there are a lot. People are publishing at an amazing rate -- some of it relevant, much of it personal, most of it just noise.

Listening to the presenters, and sorting out the questions from the audience, here are a few items of note I took away from the event:
  • The opportunity to add digital to the marketing mix is appealing, but not the first thing a marketer should start doing. Marketers must first ensure what they have to say is relevant and builds relationships. Let the message and the audiences' reception requirements define if the mix has more digital or analog in it.
  • Digital is not a silver bullet, and it is not a panacea for the insufficiency of an existing marketing program. Many marketers will start a blog, add their company to Facebook, or attempt to find ways to widget and wiki, but unless the marketing program is based on consumer insight, tactics -- whether they are digital or analog -- are just tactics. The responsibility is to customize the marketing program to your audience.
  • ROI is not as elusive as many marketers think. The problem is not that we can't measure the ROI of digial initiatives. Rather, the problem is that we don't have targeted, specific goals in the first place. Remember, measurement starts at the mission/goal articulation phase of the planning process, not as an after thought at the end of the campaign.

  • Waiting is not an option. Many marketers are waiting for someone else to figure out what digital is and isn't before they do something. The fallacy of this approach is that your consumers are already engaging in digital. Waiting simply means that your consumers are building relationships and engaging with those businesses, products, and services that are doing things right now.

-- David Kinard, PCM

1 comment:

Toby said...

Hi David -
I'm listening .. thanks for the shout out.

Yes, the first step is to listen and more and more organizations are listening. Perhaps the next question we should be asking is: Who is talking back?