Blockbuster needs to get its social media act together

A couple of recent posts around the blogosphere make a pretty compelling case for Blockbuster not getting this whole 'new marketing' thing, and doing little to monitor the online conversation about their brand.

First, David Berkowitz was surprised to find out recently that he's being used to endorse Blockbuster in ads on Facebook. What's worse, the ad, which states that Berkowitz is a 'Fan of Blockbuster', comes with an invitation to try out Blockbuster Total Access, a service that David doesn't use. Now to be fair, David did sign up as a fan on Blockbuster's page on Facebook. And I think in this case Facebook should take as much or more blame for this botched attempt at getting a manufactured endorsement from David, for Blockbuster.

But Blockbuster gets the blame all to itself when it comes to what happened (or better yet, what hasn't happened) at Ike's blog. Back in August, Ike told of a very positive experience he had with his local Blockbuster. He added this:
The store is a Blockbuster franchisee - ID #94597.

If you’re with Blockbuster’s PR team, and you’d like to know the name of the employee and his ID#, please e-mail the request to inbox {at} occamsrazr (dot) com. Also, I ask you to comment here. As quickly as possible. I’m curious to see how often you scan, and I know positive feedback is hard to come by.


And as of this writing, no one from Blockbuster has contacted Ike. To make matters embarrassingly worse for Blockbuster, Ike added a counter on the sidebar that clearly states to EVERYONE that arrives that:

It has been 137 Days, 13 Hours, 1 Minutes, 30 Seconds since my post about my wonderful experience at Blockbuster video, and I still have no response. I wish they would contact me, so I can brag about their employee's exemplary service...


While David's post has created an absolutely AMAZING discussion in the comments, Ike's experience is the one that pisses the hell out of me. I am constantly blogging about the need for companies to reach out to their evangelists. Here is Ike, who is BEGGING Blockbuster to contact him so he can better evangelize their company, and they have no idea. Absolutely inexcusable!

Forget blogs, forget Facebook, forget Twitter. If you want to improve your marketing, you find, embrace, and empower your evangelists to market for you. A lesson that's obviously lost on Blockbuster.

Here's another: The conversation carries on, with or without you.

Bonus Link just for Blockbuster: How to Launch a Successful Blogger Outreach Program in One Day.

Pic via WKRN.com


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posted by Mack Collier @ 8:09 AM,

12 Comments:

At 8:58 AM, Anonymous Connie Reece said...

Mack, it does seem inexcusable that Blockbuster has not discovered Ike's ringing endorsement -- what a PR goldmine they're missing. I could understand if it were a smaller business. After all, a simple Google alert on the term "blockbuster" would turn up every mention of the word, not just the business. Social media monitoring is very time intensive. But there are a number of services now that will do the job for you and filter/refine the results and create custom reports.

So here's another suggestion. A company like Radian6 or CustomScoop should use this example to pitch Blockbuster on their social media monitoring services. Wonder if they're sharp enough to see this mention and take my advice. :)

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"So here's another suggestion. A company like Radian6 or CustomScoop should use this example to pitch Blockbuster on their social media monitoring services. Wonder if they're sharp enough to see this mention and take my advice. :)"

Yep. Another great example of how there's possibilities for everyone, but no one is smart enough to do the legwork necessary to monitor this space, it seems.

It absolutely amazes me how many social media experts such as Ike are giving companies such amazing advice for FREE, that's totally being ignored. Unbelievable.

 
At 9:15 AM, Anonymous Ike said...

Is there any inherent irony to the fact that my "inbox" account has no Blockbuster message, but it does have an invitation from Derek to join the Facebook group "AMERICA biggest group"?

Is there a secondary irony that I visited my Facebook page just to confirm that the address is in fact NOT linked to my profile?

And a tertiary irony that the first sponsored link on my Facebook page is an offer from Blockbuster?

Is that too much irony for a post-Christmas post?

 
At 9:20 AM, Blogger Connie Bensen said...

I agree that Blockbuster is missing out on opportunities - but do they care? There's the saying about leading a horse to water...

This reminds me of the discussion we had about Walmart's Facebook group, and now they're blogging.

What's worse? a company that doesn't get involved in the conversation at all? or one that doesn't do it well?

(it is amazing though that an opportunity that's so obvious to us is being ignored)

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"What's worse? a company that doesn't get involved in the conversation at all? or one that doesn't do it well?"

One that's involved. They can always learn from their mistakes, as long as they are smart enough to start making them.

 
At 1:06 PM, Anonymous Connie Bensen said...

So Mack, do you think that this indicates that the desire to explore using social media needs to come from within the company? (I guess we'll see if you can do it from without!)

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"So Mack, do you think that this indicates that the desire to explore using social media needs to come from within the company? (I guess we'll see if you can do it from without!)"

Great question Connie! I think it's better if the impetus to embrace social media comes from within, than from the outside. I think if it comes from the inside, it will come from workers that are using and participating with social media, and understand its ability as a communication tool.

On the other hand, if a company wants to embrace social media based on outside influences, I think the motivation would be more as using social media to grow the business. Which is fine, but I think the growth should be viewed as an INDIRECT benefit, with better communication being the DIRECT benefit.

What do you think?

 
At 10:17 PM, Blogger Des said...

Interesting. Driving past the local Blockbuster store this morning I was thinking, I wonder what kind of marketing plan you have when you know (or should know) that online providers are eating your lunch - or are at least nibbling away at it? Well, maybe one thing you could do is join the online conversation, at least as a lurker to monitor what is being said, good and bad. The Ike story is amazing - a truly cautionary tale.

 
At 10:27 AM, OpenID lkribs said...

things are really looking grim for blockbuster all around, eh?

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Throggsneck said...

I just cancelled my account Total Access with BlockBuster Video… I had the three out at a time plus unlimited in store exchanges for $16.99 a month.. In the spring of ‘07 changed it to 3 out at a time and a limit of 5 in store exchanges… If you wanted the unlimited in store exchanges the price went to $21.99 a month, an almost 33% increase.. Than in December of ‘07 they had another 20% increase…I also found that new releases had long wait times and the stores only had a limited numbers of copies..There are rumors that the company has financial issues.. The stock has dropped from a high of $30.00 in May of ‘02 to $3.00 a share currently.. They have been closing store nationwide and opening up few new ones… I went to Netflix where I’m paying $9.99 a month and I’m using the unlimited download videos which are great, and no trip to the store to return them…

 
At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Marcel LeBrun said...

...as FYI Mack, I used/linked to this post as an example of kind of perceptions that can develop when a brand is not seen to be listening to online conversations. I am seeing lots of brands who are now monitoring conversations, but many do so silently and are still struggling with engagement. It will get better, however, as more success stories and positive examples surface showing the benefits of listening AND engaging.

 
At 9:57 PM, Anonymous Kerry Kobashi said...

Social media act? Blockbusters predicament has nothing to do with social media and why it is heading down hill as a company.

The company cannot compete against the likes of Netflix who clearly has outdone them.

They couldn't care a rats ass in the bigger picture if one person sung the praises of their company. Why? Because they know they are beat. The bigger picture is that Netflix offers a lower cost service 17-50% less than Blockbuster across the board.

Blockbuster will be gone as a company UNLESS they turn their business model around. And no social media is going to help that.

You can't talkup your product/service when there clearly is a dominant competitor blowing you out of the water.

 

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