Welcome WVFF Guest Blogger
David Meerman Scott, author, speaker, guru
Every day, I run across FEAR of marketing on the Web. We’ve got to work together to help people overcome this fear in 2010.
- Fear comes from bosses who insist on calculating the ROI of the marketing based on sales leads and press clippings.
- Fear comes from offline advertising and PR practitioners cautiously making the transition to Web platforms to generate attention.
- Fear comes from those who insist on copying the competition.
- Fear comes from people who think “online video is just for kids.”
What’s behind the fear? Let’s take a closer look and then debunk a few myths:
FEAR OF PEOPLE SAYING BAD THINGS ABOUT US
Many company executives and public relations people trace their worries about “new marketing” to their belief that “people will say bad things about our company” via social media.
This fear leads them to ignore blogs and online forums and to prohibit employees from participating in social media. In every discussion that I’ve had with employees who freely participate in social media, I’ve confirmed that this fear is significantly overblown. Let me repeat – everyone who has experience tells me this fear is overblown.
Sure, an occasional person might vent frustrations online, and now and then a dissatisfied customer might complain (unless you’re in the airline industry and then it might be more than a few).
But the benefit of this kind of communication is that you can monitor in real-time what’s being said and then respond appropriately. Employees, customers and other stakeholders are talking about your organization offline anyway, so unless you are participating online, you’ll never know what’s being said at all.
The beauty of the Web is that you benefit from instant access to conversations you could never participate in before. And frequently you can turn around impressions by commenting on a “negative” post.
FEAR THAT WE WILL LOOK SILLY
When you wrote a first blog post, started shooting videos for YouTube, or begin to tweet it felt like you’re just a big dork, right? I certainly did. But like anything, experience brings mastery. Tell those who are fearful to just get going!
My daughter is learning how to drive. Yes, she gets honked at and may even get “the finger” as she gingerly tries to park in a crowded lot. But she’ll figure it out. Learning to drive takes time, but it is worth it because it beats the hell out of biking or walking in a Massachusetts winter.
FEAR THAT IT DOES NOT WORK IN OUR INDUSTRY
One of the most frequent manifestations of fear is that web marketing does not work “in our industry.” The proof people provide is that nobody else is doing it. I’ve heard “The new rules do not work for mutual fund managers or lawyers or dentists or politicians or Singapore based software companies or Canadian blood donation centers or Florida based real estate agents or churches or rock bands….” I’ve heard them all. I see the excuses of “this doesn’t apply to my market” and “people in my market do not use social media” literally every day.
Duh. Someone has to be a pioneer.
So my style and strategy in my books and speeches is to show examples from many different organizations. I also show examples from non-profits, the military, government agencies, doctors, rock bands, plus big companies, small companies, B2C, B2B and much more.
I am firmly convinced (and my audiences agree) that you can learn more from what a broad range of people are doing than from what other people just like you are doing. Let’s help people get over their fear by insisting that they not insist on copying the competitors. Instead, tell them to learn from a rock band or hospital.
Better yet, tell people who are fearful to learn from Nalts. He’s the master.
The long-anticipated second edition of David Meerman Scott’s book The New Rules of Marketing and PR releases in late December 2009. The first edition, a Business Week bestseller, is published in 24 languages.
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