I believe in full disclosure - it's not a matter of "not bothering customers with such trivial things" anymore. Surely by now we figured that one out.
The session description, however, leads me to think that actually this is a necessary backtrack for the audience:
What Is Ethical Social Media Marketing? - Should social media marketers disclose if they’re working on behalf of a client? Should relationships with power submitters be divulged? Social media marketing is still evolving, and this session looks at some of the ethical questions the area is struggling with.
We probably are better off starting from a point of recognition - the things marketers might do - and educate gently away from them, to a cleaner space. As Steve put in his talk, these new media are not advertising channels.
The analogy sticks, let's not pollute this space with more garbage that no matter how closely we measure, may or may not work. For a reference on ROW (Return on... Whatever), see Steve Woodruff's post at Marketing Profs Daily Fix.
It was just last week when we were discussing the parallel goals of marketers (companies) and community (customers).
The organization wants to make a profit. How does it do that? By selling more of its products and services that have a healthy margin. To do that, it needs to find new customers and reconnect with current customers. Hence robust lead generation programs. Some companies have this down to a science, working like a well-oiled machine. They pump their messages out, and generate demand for their products and services.
What many companies are still a bit unsure of is the brand piece. With social media, the brand they have - a sum total of their reputation and interactions in the marketplace - may be a few degrees to the south of what they intended. Surely we can have "Billy" (we'll call the brand that) play with you guys. Except for Billy will show up only when it's convenient to him, will dominate the game, change the rules when it pleases, and walk away if it's not winning.
The community - customers, prospects, and potential partners - meanwhile wants to satisfy a need to be heard. Who's listening? With all this talk of listening I am reminded that we are still all talking about it. Who is actually doing it? Have you noticed how good listeners are easy to be with? The brands that do a good job at listening are getting more attention.
As customers we want to find meaning and with that gain a sense of identity. Rubel talks about the collaborative imperative - thinking and working in groups to solve problems. Gaining a sense of belonging in these challenging times would be welcome. What's happening on the playground is that when Billy shows up, all the other kids are now either ignoring him, or ganging up on him.
There is a parallel between the two sets of goals of the company and the community. There are stories still waiting to be told about how the brand adds value and contributes. It can do that directly with the community of people who want to hear about it.
Today I learned that the proposed SxSW panel: Brand, Watch Your Manners has not made the first cut. As Dion Hughes comments, this topic would be exciting enough to appear at SXSW Interactive Festival, and
have an enlivening effect on the general conversation. Who knows, maybe
what comes from the panel can make some tiny difference in the way
brands (the ultimate underwriters of almost everything we do digitally)
behave on the internet.
But even more... and definitely even more
pie-in-the-sky, is that this is one place where we start to understand
just how the digital revolution effects brands everywhere, no matter
where it is they attempt to interact with us. Can brands and people
find a peaceful - respectful - co-existence?
If you have a comment and want to continue the conversation, please do so here and there or in both places. 2009 is the year when this conversation becomes mainstream, I promise. Trust is based upon behavior, and so is reputation - and they are both the new currency for brands.
[brand as facilitator by David Armano]