What is Conversational Marketing?

22 Apr

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Before the digital revolution of marketing that we have become to known today, marketing used to be a one-way conversation. Marketers would talk to their target markets about their product, its benefits, and why they should buy it. Businesses controlled the tone of the conversation, and could communicate their product to customers exactly the way they wanted to be perceived. Customers wanting more detail and information had to go directly to the business to find this information out.

However, with social media, blogs and other forms of digital platforms, marketing is now a conversation. Customers can post reviews of products to various websites (such as Amazon), or post business reviews on websites such as Yelp. No longer can businesses hid shoddy service or product flaws in slick marketing campaigns. Listed below are three examples from Chris Silver Smith of searchmarketingland.com:

  1. The Kryptonite blogstorm of 2005, after people discovered Kryptonite locks could be picked simply using a pen. (Kryptonite ended up replacing the locks, at a cost of $10 million (Spencer, 2006)).
  2. The infamous “United Broke my Guitar” Youtube video created by Dave Carroll, which resulted in over three millions views on Youtube (Grove, 2009).
  3. 1-800-Flowers received hundreds of complaints on Facebook and Twitter over messed up orders (BENNETT, 2012).

Even with such major, viral examples, many businesses still choose to view marketing as a one way conversation (Smith, 2013). Small to medium size businesses especially ignore complaints on social media, and do not respond to poor reviews on sites such as Yelp. What these businesses are not realising is that online conversation can easily have more effect and influence on a potential customer than a marketing campaign. If someone is looking for locks, and sees a blog post outlining how easily it is to pick a Kryptonite lock with a pen, it does not matter how good the Kryptonite website is, they are not going to purchase that lock.

Small and medium size businesses must be proactive and manage their reputation online. Social media is a start, as Facebook and Twitter allows these businesses to communicate directly with customers. Also, small and medium size businesses need to communicate and respond to customer reviews on sites such as Yelp, to show that they do indeed care about their customers, and to see what aspects of their business need to be fixed.

Works Cited

BENNETT, D. (2012, Feb 15). A Rough Valentine’s Day for Flower Delivery People. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from The Atlantic Wire: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/national/2012/02/rough-valentines-day-flower-delivery-people/48716/

Grove, J. V. (2009, June 14). United Breaks Guitars Surpasses 3 Million Views in 10 Days. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from Mashable: http://mashable.com/2009/07/15/united-breaks-guitars/

Smith, C. S. (2013, April 22). Conversational Marketing Benefits Local SEO . Retrieved April 22, 2013, from search engine land: http://searchengineland.com/conversational-marketing-benefits-local-seo-155968

Spencer, S. (2006, May 22). Aftermath of the Kryptonite Blogstorm. Retrieved April 22, 2013, from Stephanspencer.com: http://www.stephanspencer.com/aftermath-of-the-kryptonite-blogstorm/

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