Wow – You have totally missed the point
Sometimes that “Team America: World Police” song plays in my head…. (the same one, about “missing the point more than Michael Bay when he made Pearl Harbor”.) Such was the case when I was at a social marketing gathering the other night. One man (let’s call him “Man 1”) asked the other man (“Man 2”) seated next to me, why he was interested in social marketing.
Man 2 responded: “I want to learn how to use social marketing to exploit people for my own purposes.”
Man 1 was noticeably taken aback by the old school economics/marketing term, and commented something about how “exploit” was probably not in synch with social marketing.
Man 2 continued with the following justification: “Yeah, yeah, I know you guys might have words that ‘sound better’ – but you know what I mean. The point is: I want to make money. I don’t care who I step on to do it. So basically I’d like to create communities, make cash and MOVE ON.”
I wonder if people like this were 1) born/or developed a condition which destroyed their speech filter or 2) have no regard for how they come across. I guess the only parallel I can think of would be some guy coming up to a woman at a bar and saying “Look, I just want to screw. I don’t find you particularly attractive or interesting, but I’m deadly horny. Basically, I just want to fuck you – you can reach orgasm if you like, really I don’t give a shit, that’s not my concern. Just make sure you’re out of my bed when we’re done and I can move on. What do you say?”
Sure it’s great to be honest about one’s intentions (and I’d love to see this particular interaction filmed – especially to solve the mystery of which part of the guy would get punched), but this technique is highly unlikely to work and there are so many far more respectful ways of conveying your message.
But I guess that’s part of what irked me so – the lack of respect – especially for communities. His comments were also all entirely contradictory to the point of social marketing.
Had I thought this guy was the least bit interested in being informed, I would have said something. In fact, I should have said something regardless, rather than continue to seethe and think “WTF?” repeatedly, until I finally sat down days later to rant about it in this post.
So, where do I begin?
OK, one: it’s called “social marketing” not “pillage and rape marketing” – that’d be my first point.
Secondly, as the book “We are Smarter than Me” (which I will be reviewing for One Degree in December. Couldn’t resist the self-promotion…) puts it so wisely: building online communities “is not a one night stand”.
Thirdly, social marketing is about relationships, genuine relationships, communities and communication that is more than one-directional.
A few words from other bloggers (and social marketing enthusiasts) that I hope add to what I am trying to express:
Joe Solomon states: “A wide array of web sites that have been born in the new Web 2.0 bubble bring people together not just for the sake of coming together – but to create something more. Wikipedia is the obvious example. …Wikipedia wouldn’t exist without its users and continues to grow as more people use it and contribute.” Joe goes on to note the concept of collaboration in Web 2.0.
Further, Enthusiast Group produced the excellent White Paper: “Enabling the Social Company” by Steve Outing which expressed the following views so succinctly:
“There are great benefits for a company to host an online community/social network. You are providing a place to bring people together to share common interests and find each other. You’re giving them an avenue to converse with your company directly. All good stuff.
But woe is the company that screws this up. Treat your community of customers and enthusiasts of your brand inappropriately, and your “bad” behavior will be amplified across the web. Ouch.”
“Treat your relationships with consumers as long-term conversations. Don’t just devise shortterm programs that open up the conversation for brief periods. Figure out how to become “friends” with your customers. Friends talk to each other, over the long haul.”
“Learn to view your customers in a different light. You used to treat them as “dumb” buyers or recipients of what you offered. But they’re smart. (Well, lots of them, anyway.) Recognizing that they have the power, now, to talk back and broadcast their opinions about your brand, you have no choice but to treat them differently — more carefully, and with more respect than you may have in the past.”
Amen. Respect. I like that word.