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"Marketers Ruin Everything"

(Image courtesy of Ryan McGuire @ http://gratisography.com/)

The headline is typical Gary Vaynerchuk hyperbole. In his 2013 video called Stop Storytelling Like it's 2007, Mr. Vaynerchuk put it more categorically:

The one thing I know more than the sun is coming up tomorrow is that marketers ruin everything. As a proud marketer, it's what we do.

A successful marketer, entrepreneur and author (Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, #ASKGARYVEE), Vaynerchuk will find nothing to disagree with in a recent social insights study from Sprout Social that tracks how far most companies are from satisfylng consumers with their social media campaigns and strategies. According to the study, "brand behaviours don't even come close to syncing up with people's expectations on social."

Why?

Because marketers can't seem to get their minds around the idea that consumers want less and less to be pushed product, shouted at or marketed to. They don't crave more promotional content.

Instead they want to hear from the company when they ask a question or identify a problem

Yet according to this insights study only 11% of consumers receive a reply when they get in touch with a company through social media — the preferred route by the way — about an issue, problem or question.

Recently, I posted a simple question to American Standard Canada on Facebook about the availability of one of their products. A few days later I received this response (admittedly a better response time than for many brands).

I did . . . they didn't. I bought a different product.

The study evidences what I think of as a social strategy investment disconnect. Money is splashed into creative online marketing campaigns, when a few more dollars could profitably be channeled into active social media customer service and social network community management. What such an approach lacks in glitter, will be made up for in affinity between people and brands.

And maybe while they're at it why not swell that reinvestment a little by shifing dollars from the hard sell and promotion to telling stories that startle with emotion, empathy, and delight . . .

And, yes, reply when asked.

As Sprout Social says:

While brands view Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as broadcast outlets for pumping out promotional content, consumers recognize these social channels for what they truly are: powerful portals for two-way dialogue.

Enough Already! Online Activism Works!

PR in the 21st Century