Sunday, November 16, 2008

#Motrinmoms = Exhibit A for online monitoring

Over the weekend, a nice lil Twitterstorm erupted after Motrin ran an ad on it's main website that many mommy bloggers took offense to. And those moms descended upon Twitter to vent their anger over the ad, making #motrinmoms the most common term on Twitter. And as of this writing, the Motrin main website is down.

As the backlash grew during the day, one blogger sought out the agency that handles the Motrin account and contact them to see what they thought of the Twitter-backlash against Motrin. Apparently, they had no idea it was happening.

And to me, this is the biggest issue in this entire 'crisis'. Motrin apparently did little to no monitoring of their intended audience before or during the Twitterstorm. Which is still baffling to me in this day and age of free and easy tools to let you do just that.

Simple monitoring using Google Blog Search or Twitter search would have immediately alerted Motrin to complaints from customers, and they could have started reaching out to angry customers in order to defuse the situation. If your company isn't using both of these tools, start doing so immediately.

Another key point: The quickest way to convert an angry detractor into a passionate evangelist, is to listen to them and act on their complaints.

That is, if you are willing to listen in the first place.

Pic via LisaHoffmann's tweet.


Anonymous said...

A related point, companies need to have people working over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

@richard_millington: I don't think companies need to have people working over the weekend as long as they are available to respond to campaign backlash.

Mack, good point regarding the willingness to listen. Another useful tack could be setting appropriate expectations when addressing customers' concerns.

For example, if a detractor says something that is just ludicrous and brand inconsistent, does it make sense to respond?

If a brand is responding, does it make sense to promise something that's undeliverable? I've flipped the bit on companies that make promises and break them. Making a promise to address the situation is a response, but not sufficient for a conversion. The follow through is necessary.

SnagIt's Betsy Weber (@betsyweber on Twitter) knows how to cultivate evangelists. Fundamentally, it comes down to respect for the consumer and the relationship.

Lisa said...

Thanks for featuring my tweet here, Mack. It was only a matter of time before this kind of thing happened. It could have been any one of a number of other companies. Unfavorable reactions are nothing new. Grassroots reactions picking up a full head of steam within hours is.

It's going to make a great case study for social media evangelists. If Motrin handles it well, it can be a case study for recovery too.

Amy @ Taste Like Crazy said...

This ad reminded me of the Quizno's ad from a couple of years ago that featured what looked like roadkill hamsters singing "We love the subs".

That ad didn't go over too well either.

I think both ads illustrate what happens when a well respected brand turns over all oversight and forgets that they have an obligation to be maintain their brand.

Sometimes "edgy" is just stupidity.

Mack Collier said...

"For example, if a detractor says something that is just ludicrous and brand inconsistent, does it make sense to respond?"

Here's the thing; if a company is already being proactive about reaching out to and embracing their customers online, when someone comes out of nowhere with a ridiculous slam on a company, their EVANGELISTS will usually step up and rise to their defense. So then really the company doesn't need to say much ;)

Betsy is a good example because she is actively on Twitter and engaging with SnagIt customers. Case in point, if you were on Twitter and you saw someone slam Betsy and SnagIt, I bet you would rise to her defense, yes? That's exactly what I am talking about.

Better for companies to establish and cultivate these relationships now.

Unknown said...

I don't think it's a good idea that every company has to use twitter. It's not right for everyone. A simple Google alert would have been fine.

Mack Collier said...

Agree on using Twitter, not every company has to, or should. But if their current/potential customers are discussing them on Twitter, they should know that conversation is happening, IMO.

BTW the Google Alert wouldn't have picked up the conversation happening on Twitter. That's why I think you need to at least monitor both blogs and Twitter in tandem.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully this Twitterstorm will open their eyes now to how they can monitor their brand and what's being said about them.

It is something that all companies should be doing but something still that many don't realize or know about. Many twitterers lambasted them like no other but as Amber mentioned in her post, looking at the positives and giving Motrin (and any other co. in the same boat) something to work with and help them be better aware is the key now.

Anonymous said...

"...when someone comes out of nowhere with a ridiculous slam on a company, their EVANGELISTS will usually step up and rise to their defense."

Agreed. Thanks for the clarification around who should be responding. :)

Social media monitoring, outreach, engagement and community building is like brushing one's teeth - you should do it regularly.

Companies should at least be monitoring Twitter. With free tools like + RSS feeds, it's easy to do so.

The latency between a comment posting to the web and Google Alert picking it up then depositing to your inbox is one of the limitations of the Google alert.

Beth Harte said...

Mack, a great point when it comes to monitoring. A simple Google Alert to the ol' BlackBerry or iPhone could have really helped. Both Motrin and their agency should have been listening. Overall, I think this is a great opportunity for Motrin to learn and get better at not only traditional advertising, but hopefully understanding why communication is so very important. Great insights as usual, thanks Mack!

Mack Collier said...

An I agree on the delay with Google Alerts. If there's a link(s) that need to be addressed ASAP, that lag can hurt.

For me, I like getting them all at one time because it makes it easier for me to go down the list and visit each one and leave a comment. I try to do this when someone links to my blog, and if I have them all together, it makes it easier to visit them all at one time.

Beth I agree, great chance for Motrin to step back and learn from this dustup. But will they? We'll find out soon enough!

Beth Harte said...

Mack, the one thing we need to keep in mind is that this was a traditional marketing campaign. Companies just aren't accustomed to "listening" because these types of campaigns are usually one-way vehicles. That said, when doing a video that could go viral, they should have been "listening." And it's a good rule in general to just always listen you your market...they seem to like it. :)

Unfortunately, I think we will see a lot of fall out from this.

Mack Collier said...

Right Beth, this was a traditional marketing initiative, and Motrin didn't consider that their customers had untraditional feedback mechanisms in place ;)