Saturday, November 24, 2007

Conversational Marketing - The Wildfire

There was an excellent keynote presentation last week at Interactive to the Max in Toronto by Sean Moffitt, President of Agent Wildfire.

Sean did a great job of laying out the rationale behind the urgency of harnessing the web to build brands. More specifically, it was about the need to embrace the social aspect (word of mouth) of the web and to promote the conversations between users and brands.

An old favourite video kicked off the argument:

Rather than paraphrasing the presentation, I've jotted down a few important data points from the deck:

Globally there are:
  • 850 Social Network users
  • 100+ Million Blogs
  • Avg. # of Blog Links - 12
  • Avg. Facebook Friends - 164
  • No. of Per Person Brand-Related Conversations Each Year – 4,65 Source: Agent Wildfire Presentation 2007
  • Generation X's Split of User Generated Content Consumed vs. Corporate Generated Content is 35% to 65% and the younger Net Generation's split is 51% (user generated) to 49% (corporate). Source: Harrison Group 2007
  • Business & Ad People as a “trusted profession” – ranked 17 & 20th out of 21 professions Source: Gallup
  • 76 percent of consumers don’t trust advertising Source: Yankelovich
  • 2/3rds of brands have re-branded themselves in the last 3 years Source: BrandChannel
These were only a few of the many statistics throughout the presentation that made an air tight case for the importance of building conversations with consumers.

Sean also pointed out results from a recent survey that showed 70% of companies are currently spending less that 2.5% of their budgets on "conversation marketing". The same survey showed that 81% respondents project that by 2012 they would spend at least as much on conversational marketing as traditional media.

The biggest challenges to getting to that enormous shift in spend were outlined as:

  • 51.1% - Manpower restraints
  • 46.9% - Fear of loss of control
  • 45.4% - Inadequate metrics
  • 43.5% - Culture of their organizations
  • 35.8% - Difficulty with internal sell-through

"Fear of loss of control" was truly the theme throughout the day (and has also been over the past few weeks in other conversations).

Historically, marketers have relied on the dollar vote from consumers. This is were I argue tirelessly about the obsession these days with clicks and immediate ROI. If you ask me, the idea of letting go and allowing consumers to participate in the growth of a company can't be more logically sound.

Kudos to Sean for laying it all out last week!

No comments: