Marketing & Online Communities: Factors affecting change in consumer and marketer attitudes

It’s just a little over a week away from the Marketing & Online Community conference. The conference agenda is almost set, and we have a great list of speakers and topics. I’m pulling together my thoughts for opening remarks, and I thought I would share some thoughts about how marketing techniques and consumer and marketer attitudes are changing.

The marketing equation to date has been something like this:
Corporate marketer engages agency with a specific goal in mind, like sell more widgets the next 2 quarters. Agency comes up with campaign that pounds consumers via available media with call to action to buy more widgets. Single digit “conversion” is deemed successful. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So how are the players in the above equation changing?

Consumers / Community Members
More and more people are flocking to social networking and community sites every day. More social media is being created and consumed every day, as traditional media consumption falls. Consumers have never been so empowered, and have also never been so overwhelmed with options and content. The connected consumer generally trusts her peers more than a c-level exec or slick campaign.

Brands / Companies
Companies are starting to realize that they can’t control the message or the medium. The best are acting as good hosts of their communities, and creating clean, well lit places to host the conversations and experiences their customers want to have. They are also extending their efforts to reach customers and prospects at the other places they work and play online, and to engage them in appropriate and interesting ways. These efforts go well beyond the traditional marketing and PR efforts of the past, with the end goal of creating unmediated relationships with their customers.

Agencies have traditionally been paid to achieve campaign-driven results quarter over quarter. Most are struggling to evolve their approach, and to help client companies build meaningful and direct relationships with their customers. Authenticity (becoming part of the community) and transparent intentions (being clear about what you want / are trying to do) are key elements in this evolution.

We have a great group of folks coming to discuss these issues, and much more. We do have a handful of tickets left to the conference, including 2 discounted tickets. If you would like more information, please send me an email.

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