Why Are Marketers Ignoring Social Feedback?

Marketers are stumbling blindly when social media can give them direction.
Marketers are stumbling blindly when social media can give them direction.

We all know the potential social networking offers to connect with customers and prospects. Social networks offer an unprecedented ability to connect with people you care about in a way that is meaningful and insightful. Yet a recent study by PRWeek and communications agency MS&L shows that most marketers are ignoring their followers:

  • Almost 70 percent of marketers say they never made a change to a product or a marketing campaign based on consumer feedback from social media sites.
  • Another 43 percent say that a lack of knowledge and expertise prevents them from using social media as part of their marketing programs.
  • And 39 percent say they are not convinced of the value or ROI from social networking.

By way of counterpoint, let me share the following from the first chapter of Paul Gillin’s book, Secrets of Social Media Marketing:

“Social media challenges nearly every assumption about how businesses should communicate with their constituencies. The most important change to understand and to accept is that one of those constituencies now have the capacity to talk – to each other and to the businesses they have to patronize. In the past, those conversations were limited to groups of at most a few hundred people. Today, they are global and may include millions of voices.”

The social media revolution will change marketing, whether marketers choose to embrace it or not. The real challenge is that most marketers aren’t used to embracing dialogue. They would rather show how good they are as marketers by telling you what people want. Think of the cast of Mad Men sitting around brainstorming the latest advertising campaign. Or I can recall any one of countless PR strategy meetings where the PR team and the client sit around and imagine what will appeal to their target audience.

Why not just ask them? Social media lets you do that.

Some marketers seem to feel there is too much risk in embracing social media. The risk is they will be rejected, that their customers will tell them they are wrong. Isn’t that the point?

As Einstein once said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Social media is a new concept that requires all of us to abandon old thinking. Embrace the new. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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