Have We Taken ‘Participation’ Too Far?
I came across this interesting letter on Katie Chatfield’s blog. It purports to be an open letter from “Brian” to the marketing industry. But whether it actually IS from a real person or not, the sentiment certainly resonates with people.
Now, because I hope/expect/want people to participate in the programs or marketing that I put together, I try to participate where I can. I contribute content and content, I comment and retweet and share. Sometimes I even do a mashup. But I do that out of a sense of reciprocity – not necessarily out of a sense of fun. Unless, of course, someone else puts the fun “in” – a good example being the @oldspice campaign. But I am predisposed towards participation – many people are not. And as “Brian” suggests, sometimes a social activation for your brand is either not relevant or (at worst) lame, but the same can be said of microsites lovingly built for the dozen or so people who actually visit.
So, the question we should ask ourselves is – have we taken participation too far? Is “Brian” right? Or are we just not trying hard enough?
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Brian must talk to my sister. My sister is not a fan of word of mouth as a lead generation target. She is convinced that she is never influenced by anyone’s opinion and makes her own decisions. I think there’s a disconnect between a product recommendation and anyone who is influenced by word of mouth is a sheep.
As much as I like where Brian is coming from, I doubt he was ever the kind of guy who would call the 1500 competition line or fill out the entry form at the local fish and chippie. Marketers still use competitions to get what they need from a campaign, mostly awareness and data. Hopefully if marketers are using UGC as a competition mechanic it’s because they need content.
I think we need to spend more time thinking about purpose.
And what we ask of our fans or audiences needs to be in alignment with this purpose. Both from a congruence and a level of effort point of view.
I would type more but typing sorta sucks on the iPad. 🙂
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