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Social Media Experts Agree: No Marketing Allowed

Social media experts like Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and Converseon’s Rob Key agree: Marketing, as we have known it, isn’t much welcome within the realm of social media. That blatant come-on simply doesn’t work — nor belong. Similar sentiment was expressed this week by Autodesk’s Beverly Debolski in an RSS for e-Commerce session. All comments were offered this week at SMX’s Social Media and the Direct Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting.

According to Wales, who likens hawkin’ goods inside Wikipedia to showing up in Church with such profit motives…
Jimmy Wales

“There are good and bad ways to think about Wikipedia, but if you think about it as a marketing channel, then you are making a mistake.”

How’s that for a morning wake-up call for direct marketers? The DMA, bye the way, is nearly oblivious to e-commerce again this year considering the lack of e-marketing and e-commerce presence at its largest conference. My colleague, DMA panel moderator and RSS (define) expert, Rok Hrastnik agreed with my perspective over dinner.

Hrastnik’s panel of experts included Autodesk’s Beverly Debolski… who showed up sharing remarkable, early stage success in using RSS with e-commerce and lead generation goals in mind. What’s Autodesk’s secret sauce?

Converseon’s Rob Key knows and over at the SMX Social Media conference laid it out by suggesting social media subverts traditional distribution content channels. Hence, being part of the “customer community” must become part of a new-fangled marketing strategy.

Rob KeySo far, marketers haven’t been invited to social marketing communities. What’s the role of a marketer in the digital, social networking age? It’s about being more of a cultural anthropologist, says Key.

He went on to challenge the notion of return on investment and measurement within social media strategies — suggesting that ROI must be re-defined and, in fact, placed under a constant, inherent desire to contribute to the community.

Key’s company won an OMMA award for a social media campaign that did just that — contributed to the Second Life community in a way that positioned American Express as a caring, green company. So, says Key, start to asking yourself “what can I give?” and you will get your return.

According to Ms. Debolski who gently (given its propensity toward “non-sales/non-commerce-ness”) uses RSS in a highly measurable way this doesn’t mean marketers need toss out old metrics like customer acquisition ratios and conversion. It does mean that engaging new or existing customers in a way that provides value to them does factor into the definition of ROI… and Autodesk recognizes this. Bye the way, Autodesk uses a neat company called SimpleFeed to engage in measurement of RSS strategy. This week, the company released remarkable numbers on the effectiveness of RSS marketing.

And let’s not forget Tom Hespos…

“If you buy into the notion that the internet is good not only for consuming content but also for two-way dialogue and interactivity, then it logically follows that the most successful communications won’t stand in the way of that dialogue.”

Yup, Tom… 1200 marketers very well may be wrong.

About the Author Jeff Molander

Jeff Molander is the authority on starting sales conversations online. He teaches a proven, effective and repeatable communications process to spark buyers curiosity about what you're selling. He's a sought-after sales prospecting trainer to individual reps, teams of sellers and small businesses owners across the globe. He's an accomplished entrepreneur, having co-founded the Google Affiliate Network and what is today the Performics division of Publicis Groupe.

Jeff also serves as adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s school of business. His book, Off The Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You, is first to offer businesses a clear, practical way to create leads and sales with platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogs.

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Rob Key says

Thanks Jeff. We will really need to work as an industry to define the “new metrics” and look at ROI in more nuanced ways. It’ll be an interesting evolution. Good points.

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