If You Work In Marketing, Kill Yourself Now

“Hello, my name is Chris!” says the projector. The title of the presentation, a quote from Bill Hicks – marketing is dead, long live PR.

The talk is on the topic of advertising. We’re reminded that some advertising is good; Hi Guinness!; but most is annoying, intrusive, and would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. Snap.com is example du jour of intrusive, unexpected advertising – a quick search of Twitter brings up examples of those already annoyed. Piggybacking on the premise of a useful tool, Snap.com embellishes small screenshots of a destination site with a border of adverts.

Quickly Chris brings up another example of “grass-roots” advertising by companies – astroturfing – perhaps where an intern has been hired to post on forums about his or her employer’s new product. It’s spam, but not as we know it – it seems relevant at first glance, but quickly becomes apparent that the poster is offering no engagement in the community.

There are two laws which can help the casual user. One is the EC Directive on direct marketing and opting-out; the other is the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations – specifically, the part which makes it illegal to pretend to be a consumer of your own product: a mandate to be open and honest. “Legistlating against PR Fail” as Chris describes it.

What can we do about it? Part 1: Down with the bad. Don’t sit idle, but be active. Ignoring fake blogs just makes it socially acceptable. Vote them down, and complain vocally. Part 2: Up with the awesome. Praise campaigns you liked, even if they’re not your clients! It’s reactive PR, and it’s what the real grass-roots should do, as user-generated PR is a much more powerful tool now than ever before in history. Simply tweeting about it is enough to get started. Chris, in his role as a PR guy, freely admits that even such principled PRs as himself sometimes make mistakes… but openness and honesty wins out in the end (so we hope…)

Tangentially to the previous presentation I was in, Chris does not believe that it’s “all about the numbers” – how can it be when 1000 blog posts could be negative reviews? He alludes to services that can read and analyse en-masse which posts are negative or positive, but this is not yet a mature technology.

Discussion quickly progressed to examples of campaigns that look good in numbers, bad on blogs, and yet could have been a success because the target market demoraphic was not the same digital-nomads who are engaged by crowd-sourced video-clips on YouTube. Nevertheless, if you work in social media directly, then they probably are!

End of presentation – no suicide required…

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This entry was posted on Saturday, October 4th, 2008 at 3:11 pm and is filed under Sessions. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “If You Work In Marketing, Kill Yourself Now”

  1. Chris Says:

    Some good sentiments there, though I so actually like many TV ads..

    Yes perhaps many of us should become “trafic wardens of social media” – but it’s a little like snooping in your neighbour… a little bit bog brother, a little bit uncomfortable when everyone is a spy.// maybe, maybe not….

    The conversation has cropped up recently within the Social Media Club of which I am on the “Board” to aid in some form of “code of ethics”, and here to I am struggling as to why the average Joe should become a policeman..

    The jury is out.. though I completely agree with the EC Directive and Unfair Trading regs, both excellent, but maybe we should leave it to those bodies rather than becoming a bunch of blaming bloggers, it’s a bit too socialist.. shudders…

  2. In a slow market, the internet will be important « People like to share Says:

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