Why Marketers Need to Work with People Media

Advertisers are people, too. They read blogs, instant message, go to social networking sites. They see that there are a vast number of people involved in online communities and want to be a part of it, too. And maybe get a marketing message out there as well.

Right now online conversation like blogs, MySpace, IM, are creating media messages. The trick, for sure, is how ad people navigate this new media space. Panelist John Battelle, Chairman & Founder of Federated Media Publishing, stated that there are 3 pillars of a great media product: author, audience, advertiser…ideally they are in a conversation where all are being fed. Online social media does not work with the traditional methods of advertising. The web encourages audience participation and dialog. Social media users do not want to be dictated to.

Brands, to some degree, are wary of all this new media. Once their product is put out onto the web, it’s fair game. Anyone can say anything about it at any point. The users, rather than being passive receivers of advertising messages, now have the ability to determine if they want to hear the message or not. According to panelist Toni Schneider of Automattic Inc., brands can’t have thin skin in this environment.

But it’s somewhat logical for brands to feel this way. This is new territory. It’s important new territory, and will only grow and expand and become more ingrained in people’s lives. But from a marketing perspective, there are still some kinks to work out. The current ways of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign using social media are somewhat vague. The big reason is because there’s no real way to measure engagement, which Battelle proclaimed is “now part of the lexicon of marketing.” Advertisers can get data on how many web hits their product’s blog (for example) is receiving, but are people staying, reading the content, and becoming engaged in a conversation through online social media about the product? There’s no format for determining that (yet).

posted by Bryan Keplesky

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