Risk and social media: the Canadian Marketing Association's Word of Mouth Marketing Conference
- 12 April, 2007
- 4 comments
The subject was whether it's possible to market in social media and virtual worlds. But one theme kept coming up again and again: risk.
What if users say bad things about us on our blog? What if nobody shows up to participate? What if this flops?
Here's where I come down on those questions:
There's a chance of failure with any project, but the relative newness of social media adds an extra dimension of uncertainty. And while there are answers to all of those questions, there's no avoiding the fact that innovation and risk go hand in hand.
Can you mitigate that risk? Absolutely. Good participation design goes a long way toward avoiding a flop; a smart moderator can encourage productive conversations; a savvy organization can engage its critics.
But here's the thing: when you're charting new territory, then no matter how successful or unsuccessful each venture may be, it always leaves you with something valuable: knowledge.
Engaging audiences in participation and one-to-one / many-to-one / many-to-many conversations is, for most organizations, a completely new skill. The more of it you do, the more you learn; the more you exercise that muscle, the stronger it becomes.
The real risk doesn't lie in having a project that doesn't succeed, or doesn't succeed in quite the way you'd hoped. The real risk is being taken by organizations that aren't investing in learning those conversational skills – because increasingly, the public is coming to expect them. And if a company, organization or agency isn't listening, they'll turn to one that does.
Other bloggers' takes on the conference:
- Joseph Thornley: "Do you know your citizen marketers?"
- Arieh Singer: Liveblogging from the CMA's WOM Conference
- DaniGirl: Dani's day out in Toronto
- Scott K. Mac Donald: From Mass to Grass, Reflections on Mass to Grass I and Part II
- Provokat: Our creative director in T.O. for a day (et en français)
- Sean at CrapHammer: CMA my WOM
- Michael Seaton: Gut Marketing
- Cybrarian: Mass to Grass: Canada's Word of Mouth Marketing Conference
- ...and impresario Sean Moffitt's look-ahead post