Friday, November 2, 2007
Andreas Weigend introduces the idea of "Conversational Marketing"
"Just like actors on stage performing and expecting applause at the end of every act, companies spend endless hours internally carefully crafting PR messages, broadcasting them, and expecting customers to lap them up. Since each customer’s opinion is separated from the rest, collective voices could not be expressed.
That sweet self delusion has come to a dramatic end. We have entered the new era of conversational marketing, where the individual is clearly heard through blogs and social networks. In many cases, their credibility and outreach surpass the voices of the companies. Due to the nature of the blogosphere and search engines, critical articles often have similar ranking as the “official statements”.
Furthermore, opinions that resonate with others get reinforced and exponentially grow as people reference them, quote them, link to them and comment on them. Whether companies like it or not, conversations between customers happen, and they are fully empowered to form groups, support fellow customers, and spread the word, good and bad. And they trust each other significantly more than the companies whose PR stories they have long stopped to believe.
Companies now have a choice. Should they continue to be detached from the very platform where their customers interact and share information about their products? Or should they play an active, positive role, participating in the conversation to get feedback on improvements, while slowly understanding how they can tap into the customer pool and learn in a positive manner?
If you seek to follow the latter, what tools can you use to understand the tones and issues underlying those authentic conversations? How do you present a human face to your customers while working with the most credible voices in the audience to make your own voice more compelling and real? And at another level, what are the difficult conversations that you need to have with your various agencies to practice Conversational Marketing?"
Andreas Weigend, Nov 2007.
Andreas Weigend, who served as Amazon.com's Chief Scientist until 2004, is an expert in data mining and computational marketing. He currently teaches the course "Data Mining and E-Business" at Stanford University, as well as the executive course "Technology, Information, and Innovation". Until 1999, he was full-time faculty at New York University's Stern School of Business.
Meet Andreas Weigend at SIME 2007.