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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA - January 7, 2009 - This is the presentation I gave at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show's Social Media Jungle event. …

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, USA - January 7, 2009 - This is the presentation I gave at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show's Social Media Jungle event.

SYNOPSIS: In an era where trust and consumer confidence is at a historic low, how can marketers move the needle? I assert that the broader cultural trends indicate decreased efficacy of traditional marketing techniques and an opportunity for marketers to build trust through social marketing rather than following long-used intrusion and interruption techniques.

As a marketer, I want my efforts and my craft to produce real value for my markets, rather than unnecessary, irrelevant noise.


Banks are failing. Government is bailing. Property values are falling. When confidence is gone, how do we sell?

We’re seeing this across the board: business is frozen in place. Decisions are put on hold, hires are postponed, and above all, risk within corporations is avoided. Marketers fall back to known tactics, even when the entire strategy behind those tactics is based on 80s and 90s thinking. No one wants to get fired, so innovation stops, even if it might be the absolute right thing to do.

As marketers, we’re seeing dwindling efficacy across a wide variety of channels and media. Our jobs are on the line. Many of us see the promise in social marketing. Others also see how traditional push- and intrusion-based marketing approaches are not only meaningless anymore, but they make us feel dirty as well.

So how do we push fearful managers past their reticence? How do we persuade CMOs that the fail-safes of the past may fail – and that new techniques might actually create the transactions we need to hit? Here are some basic concepts from previous presentations, compacted down to a 20-minute talk.

First off, let’s talk about marketing. This business, this craft of the outbound voice - classic monolog marketing - is highly refined. It’s taught in advanced university degrees, it has a plethora of trade organizations. Of course it would, it’s had 100 years to mature.

I remember as a kid watching Bewtiched, mostly because of a childhood crush on Elizabeth Montgomery but also because I thought Darren Stevens had the coolest job on the planet: selling creative ideas. And his agency was a classic example of how business approached consumers when geography and limited information worked to advertisers’ advantages and consumers didn’t have a lot of choices. In those days, simple approaches like “good to the last drop” or “tastes good like a cigarette should” could work.

Secondly, entire industries are sprung around the tools. There’s a Direct Marketing Association. An Email Marketing Association. A word of mouth marketing association. There’s a trade org for nearly every miniscule sub-practice of marketing. Advertising, PR, event marketing – each are their own highly refined science. And we have lots of specialty agencies in each subpractice who’ve made millions focusing on various marketing channels.

There’s a huge lexicon around marketing. Call-to-action, pre-campaign analytics, market penetration, reach and frequency – when small business owners listen to many marketers, I’m sure they’re confused at best.

Finally, this marketing machine, which controls trillions of dollars of spend, is incented, rewarded and focused on skill with the outbound voice. This leads to job security which is a powerful motivator toward…keeping the status quo.

And so, when the connective power and community size of various social networks became more clear to marketers, they and/or their agencies often saw social sites as tasty media morsels - easy to reach audiences ready for the taking. Agencies took their honed intrusion skillset to Facebook, YouTube and MySpace, buying display ads and later, branded social network presences. “I’ll take a fan page and a Twitter campaign, and oooh, look at this tas

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  • Banks are failing. Government is bailing. Property houses are falling. When confidence is gone, how do we sell?


  • 1. TRUST DRIVES TRANSACTIONS: Why marketing must go social PHOTO: FLICKR @JOE NANGLE ERIC WEAVER, Brand Dialogue
  • 2. In a down economy…
    • Risk is avoided at all costs
    • The known supercedes the unknown
    • Management retreats to fail-safes
    • As marketers or social media proponents, we’ll face hesitation as we propose new tools and approaches to the market during a down economy.
    So let’s look at a set of arguments to push the hesitant past their risk aversion.
  • 3. WHERE WE ARE YESTERDAY The Outbound Voice
    • Highly refined
    • Entire industries built around channel tools
      • Specialist agencies that gave way to the idea/promise of integrated marketing firms
    • Buzzword bingo
    • Effective voice + market impact = job security
  • 4. “ Oooh, yummeh!!”
  • 5.  
  • 6.  
  • 7. Let’s look at consumers.
    • Attention-deficit
    • Fragmented by niche interests
    • Feeling time-starved
      • Girl Scouts merit badge
      • Cell phone in the john
    • Distrustful of advertising
    • Spoiled by customization and media options
    • “ Snack-media” consumers
  • 8. Wake-up call: the powershift.
    • SEARCH lets consumers find people, products, information and media of interest & relevance
    • EXPRESSION through blogs, podcasts, opinion sites, online communities
    • SHARING items of value or interest – globally
      • Items they love…. and hate
    THE REALITY: To get what they want, consumers generally don’t need marketing, advertising or PR. !
  • 9. “ As he eyed his goal, he was confronted by a daunting array of SKYSCRAPERS, INTERSTITIALS, VIDEO PRE-ROLLS and POP-UNDERS.”
  • 11. With so many voices in the mix…
    • People turn to peers for recommendations.
    • They also do this when:
      • Risk is higher
      • More choices to review and filter
      • They have less time to research
  • 12. In fact, peers are the most credible source of company/product info
    • 58% believe what “a person like me” says about an organization
    • (up from 51% in 2007)
    LEAST CREDIBLE (IN THE US): corporate or product advertising (22% of ages 25-34) SOURCE: 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer
  • 13.
    • 78% aged 35-64 and 83% aged 25-34 were “ likely to trust what they have seen, read or heard about a company if someone they know has already mentioned it to them.”*
    *SOURCE: 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer Peer trust is self-reinforcing.
  • 14.
    • 56% of those aged 35-64 and 63% aged 25-34 were “likely to share their opinions and experiences about companies they trust or distrust on the web.”*
    *SOURCE: 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer Peer recommendation isn’t just influential. Trust and distrust are widely shared.
  • 15. And trust drives preference.
    • 88%
    • of opinion elites choose to buy from companies they trust. 85% refuse to buy from companies they distrust.*
    *SOURCE: 2008 Edelman Trust Barometer The bottom line: Trust drives transactions.
  • 16. FLICKR @POWERBOOKTRANCE YOU NEED A TRUST STRATEGY. You don’t need an advertising strategy. You don’t need a “Twitter strategy.” And you don’t need a “social media strategy.”
  • 17. And that would mean…
    • How do I minimize trust killers?
      • Change your spend to be found, rather than intrude. Stop pushing, start pulling.
      • Interest in your market, not in your lead targets.
    • How do I build trust across the value chain?
      • Corporate social behavior, customer service, delivery, quality. Consumer voice amplifies these issues.
    • How do I empower the market to spread their trust in my offering?
      • Give them a voice, amplify their efforts, make value-sharing effortless.
  • 18. Ways to demonstrate value and empower your market
      • Product manager insights
      • CEO media/investor relations
    • MICROBLOGGING (Twitter)
      • Special offers
      • Event buzz
    • VIDEO (one-off virals or recurring podcasts)
      • Product how-to’s
      • Personality pieces
      • Company storytelling
      • Humor
      • Content distribution/sharing
    • AUDIO (podcasts)
      • Company storytelling
      • Thought leadership
    • WIKIS
      • Event planning
      • Product development
      • Shared learnings
      • Distributed work-in-progress
      • Brand awareness
      • Community/CSR discussion
      • Community building
      • Feedback/testing/trials
  • 19. And a final note: consider your “lens”
    • Boomers/Tweeners
    • Trained in formalities
    • Don’t offend anyone
    • Be the most acceptable to the largest number of people
    • Privacy highly valued
    • Interested in tech functionality but often overwhelmed by speed of change
    • Gen X/Millenials
    • Formalities ignored
    • More interested in finding those with like minds than worrying about turning off others
    • Less privacy means more ability to be found
    • Digital natives – tech is ubiquitous and easy
  • 20. In summary
    • Rethink your entire marketing approach , from outbound monologue to full engagement
    • Build trust by being found, providing value, and not interrupting consumers on their journey to find what they want
    • Use social marketing to leverage the existing trust already established between peers, rather than trying to buy new trust
  • 21. THANK YOU. facebook.ericweaver.com slideshare.net/weave twitter.com/weave friendfeed.com/weave