Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Should Marketers be Listening or Talking?

I’ve been following material on reputation monitoring for awhile now. There’s an interesting overlap here between marketing and PR that suggests the need to modify our organizations as I suggested recently. Reputation monitoring is clearly an artifact of the social media scene; we didn’t need to do this when all communication was controlled by the brand.

I came across an interesting report from the recent PRSA conference that speaks to the subject. It has a simpler, more focused model that the one I used in the webinar (and still like) and it’s worth attention. The report is in the format of FAQs about social media—a nice presentation also—take a look.

Let me focus on a couple of issues of special important to marketers. The report groups social media tools into 3 categories based on their use by the audience—ones that create, ones that recommend, and ones that interact. Listening to all this conversation is the essence of reputation monitoring. The report also suggests that the audience is moving to greater interactivity as they become comfortable with the new media environment. That’s important for marketers to understand, but it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to get people, especially middle aged and older, to interact in most situations. Marketers have to work on that by providing real value in terms of content as well as products.

I haven’t found any social media pundit who doesn’t believe that listening is the first step. This report quantifies that advice. I especially like the advice to spend only 10% of marketing time/effort talking! And remember to “converse with” not “shout at.”

The marketer’s world has changed—radically and forever. The PRSA report has a set of useful guidelines to help us deal with this new world!

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