Sep 16, 2007

Whose Conversation Is It Anyway

FATC, a frequent commentor (commentator?) here sent me this link to an article on ZDNet about the "Conversational Marketing Summit" written by Elinor Mills. Ms. Mills questions the whole idea of "conversation" calling it (correctly, in my book) pure BS, since the consumer rarely asks for any sort of conversation. And if only one person is talking, it's not really much of a conversation, is it?

If you're too lazy to read the article, here's a great quote:

The emergence of user-generated content has given average citizens a forum for recommending and denouncing products in a way they never had before. "I call it the 'relationship economy.' You value and feel empowered to control your time," [blogger Deborah] Schultz said. "Do you really want to have a conversation and relationship with every product you buy? No."
That last sentence is the relevant one. While people do occasionally want to interact with brands, it's folly to assume that everyone out there is interested in talking to you. And that they share your level of enthusiasm about your product. (Those of us in advertising know this is a common client error: assuming that other people are as interested in the minutiae of your product as you are.)

What's also interesting about this article is it's an example of consumer pushback to the whole idea of conversations and brand-as-friend-you-want-to-hear-from. And, as FATC notes, it appears on a technology website, not a marketing or advertising one.

Word is spreading.

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