E-commerce Link: So Hot, You're Cool
Opportunities presented by experiential marketing are exciting, but the task of shifting gears—staffing, allocating budget, retraining, prioritizing tactics—is daunting for marketers. How can social marketing “believers” work within the confines of corporate bureaucracies and convince superiors to begin experimentation under a sense of urgency? Where is the low-hanging acquisition 2.0 fruit?
I decided to pose the following question to experts who are truly in the trenches:
Is traditional, interruptive marketing dying?
We Aren’t in Searchville Anymore, Toto
First, experiential marketing doubters must be given the chance to appreciate how the Web is radically shifting power away from companies and toward customers. As a result, customers ignore and distrust advertising.
Media firms cite growing distrust of advertisements and marketing ploys among customers. In 2007, Nielsen noted that more than two-thirds of survey respondents from across the globe cited “recommendations from others” as the most helpful, trusted form of advertising.
Even search engine marketing—now widely practiced by most Web marketers—is taking a hit. Nielsen says only 34 percent of customers ranked their experiences with search engine ads as trustworthy and reliable.
A new study from the University of Southern California cites a growing number of people characterizing search results as unreliable and inaccurate. Only 51 percent of people trust information provided by search engines, the university reports, down dramatically from 62 percent in 2006. Even almighty Google isn’t trusted by nearly half (49 percent) of people who use it.
What’s the point? Customers realize that Web advertising is beyond interruptive—it’s pervasive, obstructive. Separating ads from information is a chore, and people don’t like chores.
The Low-Hanging Fruit
How do you get your company fired up to make this customer-interaction shift? Sam Decker, CMO of customer review solution provider Bazaarvoice, recommends bringing in industry experts to present social marketing research and ideas to your key stakeholders. He also advises marketers to send negative reviews/blog posts to their customer service teams to get acted upon (making the company accountable for customer satisfaction).