Topic: Our Forum

Us Vs. Them On The Khe

Posted by Anonymous on 250 Points
The other day I came across this on Twitter:

"A hell of an argument going on between copywriters and website strategists at the Marketing Profs site!" (posted by Peter Hobday)

Which was in response to some of the comments left on this KHW posted question:

The person asking the question cleary understood their market, but just needed a bit of help with some copy.

Reading through the comments it was apparent that the "Us vs. Them" mentality was alive and kicking yet again...

Just because someone asks a question DOESN'T mean then don't understand marketing or what they are doing. Sometimes it COULD mean that they are stuck in a rut and needs a little help in the right direction.

Knowing this forum I was NOT shocked to see some of the below comments left:

"you are dismissing the suggestion of RapollaGroup too quickly, and/or you don't really understand it."

"I disagree with your mandate that "savings and price have to be the primary focus."

"I get the sense that you don't appreciate the sincerity behind the earlier comments ."

"You've already told several people, all of whom have DECADES of experience that they don't understand your model."

"So that means it's your job to climb down off your high horse for a moment and EXPLAIN it to them. To all of us."

"Most of us here are professional marketers who don't like abetting clients who are pursuing a losing strategy. It paints US with the same brush of amateurish marketing that we try so hard to counter."

"But please understand that we're not eager to help implement what we see as a flawed strategy"

"Instead of challenging our expertise and confidence, why don't you share the facts..."

Are Peter and I the only people who see these comments as 'rude' (my word) and 'heavy put-downs' (Peter Hobday's description on Twitter)??

I was thankful to see that finally someone like Peter stepped in to leave professional and thoughtful comment that actually provided the help the person was looking for.

No wonder we don't have marketers coming here and asking for help other than "I need a tagline." Why should they when they are berated...who would sign up to be treated like that?!

I'd like you all to think this for a moment:

If this forum were to be removed tomorrow and all those points you've collected went with it... Where would you go to start over?

Because I can tell you these types of comments would NOT fly in other marketing communities like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Ning or blogs.

One more thing to consider... How does this affect MarketingProfs brand when people read on Twitter that the KHE has this type of atmosphere?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

Beth Harte
Community Manager, MarketingProfs
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  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    What happened to Peter Hobday? When you check his profile it says he "no longer exists." I hope that's not literally true.

    Anybody know about Peter?
  • Posted by steven.alker on Accepted
    Dear Beth

    Clicking on Peter Hobday to view his profile I was greeted by the alarming warning message in Red, “Sorry, that member no longer exists” Have that all powerful “Us” group you refer to de-materialised him? Even if the poor fellow has had a contract executed on him, he would still exist, albeit as a corpse. If he was a Christian, he would, even then, continue to exist in another place. Most other religions have their own take on this.

    I’ve not yet contributed to the supposedly offensive post, mainly because I’m not terribly good with copywriting, even though I am literate, poetic and can write good PR I just waffle too much.

    I can’t see what all the fuss is about. No one’s been rude and no injury to body or feelings (Apart from exterminating Peter) has been occasioned. I’m probably not the best person to comment because being English, most subscribers thing that I’m still being terribly nice and gentlemanly and that my quirky responses can probably be put down to centuries of inbreeding and frustration at no longer being able to look forward to a seat in the Lords thanks to this damned government. Oops, sorry, there I go again.

    As to the publicity on Twitter, I think that it is good. For heavens sake, marketers along with economists can both disagree with each other and hold such mutually incompatible views that their very existence is a tautology. Scientists aren’t immune to this and quantum weirdness through to cosmology generates heated debate in the various societies. It’s healthy. If our contributors think that the proposition is flawed, that is an opinion but they would be morally inept were they to answer the question without warning that they felt strongly that the person posting the question is based on a fundamentally flawed or a was a dangerously wrong strategy.

    It’s a little easier for my because most of my marketing is based on software, statistics and analysis, but if some new member posts a question which is inadequately scoped, lacks detail and sets out some precepts which I think are wrong, I’d be off my trolley were I to answer the question when it was riddled with wrong assumptions. And I do get annoyed that the poster won’t abide by the rules – no profile, no website only one question old and expecting everyone to do an expensive professional job for free. “No I won’t expand on the data our premise is built on, my wife doesn’t understand me and if you don’t come up with a J Walter Thompson quality proposal by tomorrow morning, I’m going to throw all my toys out of the pram and eat Nanny."

    Did the questioner thoroughly understand the market – maybe, but I’ve disagreed with many askers on questions and told them that they should go back to their assumptions and test them for short, medium and long term results. You can’t delete a discount (Unlike what you did to poor old Peter) once you’ve let the genie out of the bottle and some of the postings show a genuine concern over the long term implications and the future profitability of nosceo2000’s company.

    Were any of the answers rude? No. A bit waspish some times, otherwise it’s all very Summerset Maugham. Why the strong reaction Beth – do you want us to tell people something we don’t believe in? I’ll do a client’s bidding, but I won’t lie to them and I will tell them where I think that their strategy is flawed. I guess that it runs in the family. My great uncle, Sir Stafford Cripps was kicked out of the British Labour party and out of high office because he fundamentally thought that some of his parties policies were barking mad and he refused to shut up over them. He was brought back into government by Winston Churchill, who disliked him intensely because a poll showed that he was the second most admired politician after Churchill. He went on the become Chancellor of the Exchequer and never once plastered over a disagreement over facts or policy for the sake of being nice to people.

    What would I do if you took away the forum because a few of us are a little choleric in our answers from time to time? I’d probably contact 20 of my Expert friends and start up our own venture – I could throw about £500,000 at it this year and more next. Only this time round, we’d be the shareholders and we’d be the ones telling our rapidly acquired 340,000 subscribers, “Would you mind being a little more polite”

    That translates as don’t do anything to potentially drive members away because we need them to add value to the site, and if it were our site we’d obviously not want that as it reduces our marketing income and devalues the stock.

    Is that what’s happening to you – The hot breath of the Board on your neck because your peasants for hire are revolting (In both senses of the word)?

    Would these comments fly in other places – well yes? Most IT forums use lacerating put-downs thanks to the anonymity of a web based forum. All the sites you have mentioned stretch to profanity through to (In the case of BeBo and FaceBook) un-witty exchanges to groom children for paedophiles. As for the sites my colleagues and children use, I’ve never seen such unadulterated filth as they get from various weirdo’s.

    When I joined MP’s I was told that this was the politest place on earth to get your legs pulled because you have posted rubbish. Thankfully that’s still the case.

    Best wishes

    Steve Alker

  • Posted by SteveByrneMarketing on Accepted
    lol - Steve Alker, you are too much. Both agreement and entertainment, thanks for your post.

    Allen Weiss, it’s your site, your brand, what say yea?

  • Posted by Harry Hallman on Accepted
    Censorship is the doom of a forum. If you don't like what is being said don't read it. Better yet, conduct yourself as you would like others to conduct themselves. Maybe it will rub off.

    On linkdin an abrupt and slightly nasty poster created a post that said "Social Media For Business is Crap".

    This opened a flood gate of positives and negatives. Some were slightly abusive, but overall the info was incredible. There were well over 300 comments. I have never seen that many comments for one marketing post.

    Censorship is not a good thing.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Accepted
    We answer questions because we truly care. Since we aren't compensated for our time, we take our best shot in responding to the questions (which are usually incomplete and isn't quickly responded to by the poster) in one fell swoop. And sometimes we give too much information, the wrong information, focus on the wrong thing, assume something incorrectly, get led astray by others' postings, get attached to our answer, or try to focus on the problem (instead of the symptom like the poster is asking).

    Everyone has their own style, and no one expert represents the whole of this community. That's the good thing - we have lots of voices/experiences/viewpoints to share.
  • Posted on Author

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, I appreciate it. I've read your comments and they certainly clarify a lot, thank you.

    My main concern is the unfortunate brand that is being developed on behalf of MarketingProfs. When people comment publicly about the KHE they say it's "MarketingProfs" (not the specific person who responded to them) who they felt was rude or not helpful...

    As a brand custodian for MarketingProfs how do I combat or change that perception? Any expert advice?


    P.S. Peter's profile has been fixed...thanks for your concern there.
  • Posted by mgoodman on Moderator
    Hi, Beth ...

    I think we all want the MarketingProfs brand image to be a strong, vital and accurate one. It's appropriate for you and all of us to be sensitive to the kind of issue you raise here.

    It's interesting, though, that Peter's original tweet doesn't refer to anything on the KHE being "rude or not helpful." In fact, his comment was really very good for the MarketingProfs brand, because it would probably get people to check out the KHE and see what the "hell of an argument" is all about. (Once people get there, they can decide for themselves if they think there's an argument, whether it's rude or not, whether KHE might be helpful for them in the future, etc.)

    In fact it is YOUR tweet ("... there are some heavy put-downs on that post") that puts the negative characterization on KHE and MarketingProfs, followed by your personal opinion about not agreeing with some of the responses. Had you not posted that tweet, there would be no issue about the friendliness or tone of the forum or possible damage to the MarketingProfs brand image.

    Please understand: This is not a comment about your right to express your opinion. It's more a comment about how you have taken your own views, expressed them outside the KHE forum, and then asked us how we would suggest handling the issue of the MarketingProfs brand image so as to make it seem less "rude" in public forums.

    I think this may be a case of beauty (or rudeness) being in the eyes of the beholder. The responses to your original question suggest that the majority of respondents don't see things the way you do. (Again, that doesn't make you right or wrong ... just different than some.)
  • Posted on Author
    Jeff (BARQ), actually my question was asked in irony and to make a point. I don't really need an answer because I already know what it is.

    That said, I really appreciate your thoughtful answer, insights and experience. I hope you are right about the balance...

    Also, I totally agree with you, the best forums, communities, groups, etc. are the ones where members are self-policing and they follow the guidelines. Please rest assure, it's not my intention to police (or censor) anything...and it's not my style.

    But when I see people starting to get frustrated and/or feel uncomfortable, I need to see what's going on... it's my job.

    I brought up the example I did because while I was taken aback by the comments (but not shocked)... and honestly was feeling completely empathetic towards the question asker. I am glad that Peter Hobday came along to 'balance' out the situation. And the question asker was REALLY grateful for Peter's help, which at the end of the day is what the KHE forum is about, right?

    Thanks Jeff!
  • Posted on Author

    Actually I DIDN'T say that... Peter did. Here's what I shared in response to Peter's tweets (you can verify this using Twitter Search):

    Peter: A hell of an argument going on between copywriters and website strategists at the Marketing Profs site!

    My response: @phobday Peter, thanks for sharing the KHE post here on Twitter...that has to be one of the most lively engagements I've seen! Great convo!

    My 2nd response:@phobday Often the people on the "inside" are truly the real experts and they just need a bit of help... Your comment was great. :)

    Peter's response: @BethHarte Yes, there are some heavy put-downs on that post! BUT - I don't agree with any of them.

    I hope that clarifies any concerns you have. And I'll take that apology now. :)

    As for what is 'rude' and what isn't... I am going ONLY by the comments I see outside the KHE, the phone calls we receive, or the reactions from the asker within the KHE.

    Peter's comment isn't the first and surely won't be the last. But, that's my job to handle these things when they happen. ;-)


  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    My apology. I did do a Twitter search and must have either used the wrong terms or misread what I saw. You are absolutely correct, and my comments about your alleged post are wrong.

  • Posted on Author
    Michael, thank you! Yes, if you don't use Twitter it can be hard to understand who is @ing who when looking at a search.

    And thanks for alerting us to the issue with Peter's profile...Penny in customer service fixed it.

    Community Manager, MarketingProfs
  • Posted on Author
    Randall, you're right in bringing up kudos too! You've all been helpful to many, many people!! :)

  • Posted by steven.alker on Member
    If we do this again, (Which I hope we do) could I set it to music and play the piano?

    The tensions and emotions would be highlighted by adding music.

  • Posted on Author
    Steve A., we can have music, a piano and *maybe* even a violin...but only if you promise to spell one of my favorite author's name correctly the next time you use it in vain: W. SOMERSET Maugham.

    [See how I didn't make any offhanded Brit comments... But that would have a great example of what rude is, eh? ;-)]

  • Posted on Author
    Jeff, only if you say "ooutt" and "aboouuut" before the "eh." ;-)
  • Posted on Author
    Jeff... :)

    I am not backing out of anything, BTW. I stand by what I said. Just happy that we can all have a bit of fun at the end of all the seriousness.

  • Posted by NovaHammer on Member
    BARQ Canayjun ..??

    The usage of the word is widespread throughout much of the UK, particularly in Wales and the north of England, in places such as Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the Midlands, and also in various parts of Scotland. It is normally used to mean "what?".

    "Eh?" used to solicit agreement or confirmation is also heard regularly amongst speakers in Australia (where it is sometimes spelled "ay" on the assumption that "eh" would rhyme with "heh" or "meh"). In the Caribbean island of Barbados the word "nuh" acts similar. The usage in New Zealand is similar, and is more common in the North Island. It is also heard in the United States, especially Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (although the Scandinavian-based Yooperism "ya" is more common), Oklahoma and the New England region. In New England and Oklahoma, it is also used as a general exclamation as in Scotland and the Channel Island of Jersey

    Since usage of the word "eh" is not as common in the United States as it is in Canada, it is often used by Americans, and indeed Canadians themselves, to parody Canadian English.

    The equivalent in South African English is "hey".

    BARQ - You were shooting BORING I hope during this Cut and Paste update just like we all did in the audience during the Rocky Horror Picture Show when the Narrator got in the way trying to keep us on track...

    Hugs and kisses to 'y'all'.... that's Yank talk isn't it?

  • Posted by steven.alker on Member
    As a child, Nanny told us that "Eh" was vulgar and that if we used it, we'd have our mouth's washed out with soap.

    Surely that is the position in the modern world, or has it really gone to the dogs?


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