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EconSM – Social Media Meets Marketing

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(I’m at EconSM today.)EconSM

Session Description: "Never has there been a medium in which marketing and advertising could be so closely measured (or manipulated). Some advertisers are entering the world of social media on tiptoes, hoping to retain control in an era of no control; others are intent on jumping into the deep end to see what happens; many are looking for the right mix in between the two extremes."

Panelists:

Jimmy Guterman, Editorial Producer, EconSM
Simon Assaad, Co-CEO, Heavy.com
John Battelle, Chairman, Federated Media
Shawn Gold, SVP, MySpace
Tina Sharkey, Chairman, BabyCenter
Rishad Tobaccowala, CIO, Publicis Group

My Take:

One thing became apparent during this panel: the existing (broken, vapid, disposable, push) world of marketing is still alive and kicking on places like MySpace, where it’s all about audience size and page views and the existing interruptive, advertising-driven marketing model. While the other members of the panel (outside the rep from MySpace) were saying the right things about conversation and customer connection, I came away from this panel feeling that the current scarcity of accepted metrics to show the results that are being achieved at the intersection of social media and marketing is hamstringing social media’s uptake on the customer-facing side of the enterprise.

Liveblogging notes:

Simon: Marketing needs to be conversational.

Battelle: "I think the reason we can’t measure things is that we haven’t tried. We are still using ‘panel based measurement’ for the internet. It works terribly for niche audiences. But when we get into marketing, we get into problems. How do you measure the value of a conversation with a customer we sell to once a year? What we need is experimentation and the willingness to try new things. It takes a lot of time. So far, no one has written an algorithm for conversations.

Guterman: In your own room, you put up your own pictures, and play your own music. On the internet, "your room" is MySpace. How do you advertise to people in their own room?

Shawn: When I talk to advertisers, I tell them you need to create a subnetwork that give people a sense of recognition and belonging. "There are a simple set of sociological guidelines to extend your value proposition in a social network."

Tina: Influence marketing is critical. Even a few people in an ecosystem can market on your behalf. (segue) With Live 8, AOL became the enabler. AOL wasn’t the concert, but it provided an interface that let the users create their own experience.

Rishad: In a world that is moving toward "no control," marketing still has control. Our clients need to sell millions of things, not five things. What are the incentives for marketers to change? What are the incentives for suppliers to change?

Guterman: The new marketing conversation always turns to Second Life. However, when I go there, SL is empty…except for marketers.

Rishad: We’re very bullish about virtual worlds. In Korea, we’re excited about CyWorld. In the U.S., we’re very bullish about online gaming.

Audience: In B2B websites vs. B2C oriented sites, what are the differences in revenue models or the difference in ad revenue based business models vs. subscription based business models?

Simon: A subscription service was difficult to make work for us, because there are millions of free options. Advertising is not going to solve everybody’s problems, not by a long shot. Subscription is not a viable option. Maybe selling stuff is. Advertising is going to be the only real revenue model for platforms for right now.

Shawn: The B2B side has the same models. I think "the exchange" is going to come back, as business social networking with commerce built in.

Audience: Are marketers are afraid to get in front of user-generated content?

Shawn: There are technologies that can read the words on the page. WalMart might put their ad supporting a Green cause, and it might show up next to a girl in a g-string. But hey, everyone needs to recycle.

Battelle: WalMart would never do that. Brands care about scale, safety and quality. They are used to controlling that message about their brand. They are afraid to get feedback.

Rishad: Marketing is about listening to your customer. (ed. – FINALLY)

Audience: Should people try the "egg" model — connect a social media on your site — or the "chicken" and connect on a large social network?

Rishad: You have to talk back. Marketers are not stupid. They might be concerned. They might be scared. They want to embrace this space. They should listen to what people are saying first, though.

Tina: Marketers need to engage on all media — TV, print, radio, social media.

Audience: Do you see participation (posting, contributing) as "what it’s about?" Or is social media merely a means to create content, with most people being "consumers" of that media in a traditional sense?

Shawn: There’s a saying, "we choose our friends by our ability to amuse them." That propels people. Youth culture is about sharing something first, about knowing something first. The content today is so share-able…when I was a kid, sharing a lighter or a cig was a form of social currency. Now the social currency is what goes on YouTube.

Battelle: Our culture is getting more used to having content that it can edit. When the White House releases something on Friday in hopes of burying it, the bloggers find the juicy bits over the weekend and the news outlets do something with it on Monday.

Audience: is anyone thinking about the marketing dialog on TV?

Simon: It’s been going on a long time, and it’s pretty much one way. The way it’s worked is that you light a fire on TV to get people talking, and then the conversation happens elsewhere. Broadband will drive the dialog on TV more than TV will drive the dialog on TV.

Audience: In Hollywood, we’ve stumbled. Snakes On A Plane had huge traction online, and bombed at the box office. While "awareness" might be high, consumption might not be. Can marketing change dialog and awareness into consumption?

Simon: I think there is a lot of dialog going on right now around video. YouTube does millions of video streams a month; that’s what Comcast did last year. We’ll get better tools about understanding consumption.

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EconSM – Social Media Meets Marketing
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About Christopher Carfi
Christopher Carfi, CEO and co-founder of Cerado, looks at sales, marketing, and the business experience from the customers point of view. He currently is focused on understanding how emerging social technologies such as blogs, wikis, and social networking are enabling the creation of new types of customer-driven communities. He is the author of the Social Customer Manifesto weblog, and has been occasionally told that he drives and snowboards just a little too quickly. WebProNews Writer
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