Thursday, July 20, 2006
User-Generated Marketing (UGM): fad, buzz word or core to Marketing 2.0 ?
Aren't you blasé in front of the constant coined terms alluvion attached to marketers discovering new ideas. So here is a new one: User-Generated Marketing a.k.a. UGM - it even has its own acronym! iMedia Connection reports on what advertisers say about UGM. I get the impression, when reading these lines, that most of them are still with this posture of considering that the brand manages consumers.
I got rid of this view of the world many years ago, when the Internet was in its early days - mid nineties - and we started to see reverse auction taking place in some B2C areas, used cars sales being one example. Whether or not the new way to acquire a used car was going to evolve 100% toward reverse auction is not the point here, but it was rather a sign that the major consumer-brand relationship shift lied in the advent of empowered consumers. Suddenly it was here, right in our face: consumers were driving the business, not the brand.
By the way, take a look at this business 2.0 survey, it is very clear: the #1 individual who matters is YOU, the consumer as creator, before Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google Co-founders, Steve Jobs Apple Computer CEO and co-founder, or Bill Gates now benefactor.
Marketing 2.0 is not about understanding or even mastering this blog, Flickr, del.icio.us, or YouTube phenomena. It's rather to take action upon consumers and customers driving our initiatives. And to me, it's above all for us to establish and maintain a transparent and empathic dialog with them. Because the way they express their thoughts, experiences, desires and complaints are not done in a vacuum, just when you dare have focus group research organized. It happens publicly, everywhere, especially in places and at times where you don't expect it and when you're not prepared at all. Are advertisers and marketers in control ? What a joke!
Marketing 2.0 is one of the consequences of mass market individualization business models and low barriers to entry to ubiquitous personal communication to the masses. We have to embrace it, emphasize and facilitate the emerging trends originating from customers that are congruent to our strategy. Then what if our strategy is never coming across these trends ? Well, I guess it's about time to reconsider our strategy and our core competencies, don't you think Mr CEO ?