Topic: Book Club

Citizen Marketers: Biggest Hurdle, Praytel?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
Folks: what is the biggest hurdle we face in getting buy-in from our companies, clients and colleagues on this paradigm shift? Why so much resistance to social media?

Is it CONTROL (fear of losing it); LEGAL (fear of risk going through the roof); good ol' INERTIA (“I don’t wanna change!”); METRICS (co's not phased by the adoption/interest/opportunity levels)…or a combination thereof? Or another? I’d love your feedback.

Currently I’m leaning toward ‘control’ and ‘legal’ as the biggest hurdles--be they perceived or real challenges. Enlighten me on what you see as the #1 challenge, and, if you have any solutions for overcoming these barriers, I’m all ears…

Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Citizen Marketers by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell (topic: social media). Click the title to buy the book from Amazon. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!
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  • Posted on Accepted
    I think there are a number of things that could pose hurdles. Which become hurdles for your company or client depends on the internal politics and mindset there.

    The things you mentioned are all real potential barriers. I think another, which could override the others, is generational -- simply a lack of personal exposure to social media.

    For many of us who grew up with typewriters, carbon paper and clocks with hands, a lot of this is startlingly new and intimidating. For my son, who grew up with a computer and immediately mastered and beat me at Nintendo games I could never even begin to figure out, social media is just another thing he lives with and uses daily without a second thought. If my son and his peers are in your company or client, you'll get quick acceptance of working with social media. If the CEO or CMO is one of my buddies, well then you may have some educating to do, so be patient and be gentle.
  • Posted on Accepted
    I believe it appears labor intensive and also frightening in that social media is open-ended, unconstrained and viewable by so many - companies are unsure about what will be entered, in the blogs and their reputations and may not be up to discussing and reviewing in such a format.

    Marketing Riot
  • Posted on Accepted
    I think it's partly a control issue, and partly a money issue. Once companies get over their feeling of sharing control, then there's the matter of companies not wanting to examine citizen marketing until they see how they can MONETIZE it. The sad fact is, as with blogging, many companies fail to embrace either, because they can't find a spot for it on their balance sheet.

    I think that will change with time as more and more companies take the leap of marketing faith, and are rewarded for their efforts.
  • Posted on Author
    David: Yes, generational is clearly one BIG hurdle. I applied that to the "inertia" choice when I first read your comment but it probably goes into its own category of FEAR of new things. Good catch.

    MarketingRiot (great name, btw): Again that 'fear' of being exposed. It's that loss of control. When I first started blogging it was scary to be "out there" as many times the feedback is positive, sometimes critical. But the hard stuff to hear/learn can make one much better at their work. And by hard stuff I just mean disagreements, nothing negative--but that does happen.

    Mack & Bob: Good catch on the greenbacks. We do need a system of metrics in place as those numbers (ROI) beget needed numbers (Budgets). It is about "show me the money" and the more favorable reports/data from the media and analysts will help--though it may be a few years before a true fiscal commit is made.
  • Posted by Drew McLellan on Accepted

    I think initially, it is ignorance and then the cold hard gripping fear of letting go.

    I do believe we will get past that, as this concept becomes more mainstream.

    Then, I think the trick will be getting it out of just the marketing department and make it cross-cultural within an organization. The marketers will get and embrace it. But until the CFO or the HR or the (fill in the blank)'s just a crazy marketing thing.

    In some ways, it adds to our toolbox in terms of measurability. But the question is -- can we define a value for those metrics.

    I wonder if another hurdle isn't stupidity in terms of marketers trying to use these new concepts and tools to "game" their audiences -- i.e. lonelygirl15 etc.

    We lose enough credibility and then the battle becomes much tougher.
  • Posted on Author
    Drew: Well said with "Then, I think the trick will be getting it out of just the marketing department and make it cross-cultural within an organization."

    I do think this will be a combination of us facilitating this learning curve + social media becoming mainstream. But you're right in that it needs to be viewed as critical outside of the marketing department. Alas, there exist many marketing departments to convince first :-).

    Chris: Very good in saying, "acknowledgement that someone else might know more about our product or business is, essentially, saying you don't need me or my marketing department".

    That's going to be a hit to control (losing it) and a hit to egos. Yet the marketers of this age won't be obsolete when they co-create with their audiences (as they need to execute on their feedback). Those that don't engage the wisdom of their markets? I believe they'll have a tough go of it.
  • Posted by Ann H. on Accepted
    "Inertia," "Fear," and "Ignorance" all have negative connotations in my mind... which is why I think I'm inclined to pitch my tent in David's camp here. Before we even get to the business reason (the "cash factor" -- how will social media help me make more money?) we first have to overcome the lack of familiarity and knowledge of and comfort with social media. It's easy to forget that so much of what we have already embraced (social networking, blogs, etc.) are still pretty radical to a lot of people, and a lot of businesses.
  • Posted by Drew McLellan on Member
    I don't disagree on the money factor. But truth be told, can any of us articulate in hard numbers how all of this is going to hit the bottom line? We can tell stories and point to bad situations reversed by the companies who are in tune with the blogosphere, for example. But I'd be hard pressed to dollarize it.

    Ann makes a good point. We are inside the bottle. We can no longer understand how those on the outside can't see what we see.

    I think the work that Easton Ellsworth is doing -- trying to document how many companies out of the Fortune 500 have official blogs is pretty telling. When he started, I ignorantly assumed most of the big companies would have caught on to the trend. But that's not the case at all.

    I have a client who is the perfect profile for creating a blog. They are in an uber competitive marketplace and none of the competitors are in the game. They have a lot to say. Everyone but the CEO is on board. He simply says no.

    You know what he said? "We're not going to reach out. Let them come to our official website (no RSS feed of course) and ask on our comments page. Then we can answer them one-on-one."

    That my friends, is what we're up against.


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