Schizophrenia – noun – a severe mental disorder characterized by some, but not necessarily all, of the following features: emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, social isolation, disorganized speech and behavior, delusions, and hallucinations (dictionary.com)
Sound like anyone you know? How about us marketers? Well maybe not you, specifically, but I’d argue that many of our peers seem to be showing signs of schizophrenia. See if any of these sound familiar…
Exhibit 1: Company X wants to promote a new mission or vision or product. So they hit up Twitter with some spiffy new hashtag. At first glance Company X is ready to proclaim the short endeavor a success but then realize the only ones using the hashtag are employees. Moreover, it is the same few constantly talking among themselves, or more to the point, to themselves.
Exhibit 2: So Company X decides to give LinkedIn a try. They’re a B2B firm and they know from market research that their target segment is actively involved on LinkedIn. So what do they do? Duh, start a group. Start yet ANOTHER LinkedIn group. But this one will (of course) stand out because it has THEIR brand on it. Who *wouldn’t* want to be part of a conversation sponsored by their brand. Knock knock, it’s reality. Please come on back.
Exhibit 3: My favorite still is the Facebook promotion. Company X starts promoting a Facebook page. “Like” them and earn a chance at a winning some prize, or get a 5% discount on your next order. I’m probably in the minority, but my loyalty or endorsement has to be worth more than that. And even if it’s not worth more, human nature is to assume that it is. Now as for the “like” sluts out there (you know who you are), does Company X really even want those endorsements? The “like” button has become a hyper-inflationary currency. Marketers can’t print it fast enough, and the more they print the less valuable it becomes.
So my dear marketers – I beseech you to do the following…
1) Stop talking to yourselves out loud. Frankly, it’s weird and uncomfortable.
2) Stop assuming that the conversations you start are necessarily going to be the most relevant.
3) Don’t act so desperate. It’s not becoming and certainly isn’t going to drive customer loyalty.
Instead – be sincere. Go to where the conversations are already taking place. And for goodness sake, you don’t have to do all the talking. Listening from time to time may also be helpful.