Monday, August 27, 2007

Say, what if we tried that 'conversation' thingie?

Christopher points to a great Ad Age article about how companies are starting to rethink how they view social sites from a marketing point of view.

"What's been a challenge is figuring out a model that expands the beauty of social networking," says Debra Aho Williamson, analyst at eMarketer. That's partly because it's easier to buy display ads and sponsorships than to create completely new programs; it's also not exactly clear how to monetize a role as a long-term, relationship-building tool."

Baby steps. You can see that marketers are starting to understand that there MIGHT be a better way, but as the quote above ("it's also not exactly clear how to MONETIZE a role") suggests, companies are still wanting to view social sites/media as simply a potential revenue stream.

Then we have this ray of light:
Ian Schafer, CEO of Deep Focus, hopes the roles of Facebook and MySpace evolve into more conversation-monitoring and relationship-nurturing.

"I understand the entertainment dollars are easy, but to be able to come to these brands with a real solution -- not just inventory -- for helping them manage their brands or conversation around their brands is an opportunity," he said.

Bingo. And remember, the conversation monetizes itself.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The hard thing is getting past the question "how does this drive sales?"

Conversation is a great way of making things happen indirectly, but brands need their agencies to tell them how to make things happen directly.

More TV ads = more people buying product X... or at least that's what ad reps will tell you.

Social media is MUCH riskier. The rewards can be higher, but the risks are higher as well. If a brand manager / CMO / director of a global megabrand can't answer the question "what's the direct ROI?" then they are never going to bite on social media.

As practitioners, I think we need to move beyond the vague expressions of indirect value, and learn to sell the ideas is real business terms. Your formula is a good start, and as more case studies arise, we'll be much better equipped to sell the big boys on a completely foreign strategy.