Why conversational marketing is the communication of tomorrow

In this recent study Forrester asked people in North America what information sources they trusted. Look at the 2 bottom bars. The least trusted source of information is a company blog and social networking initiatives from a company or brand.

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about how communication must shift from event based communication (launches, seasonal etc) to conversational ongoing brand communication. This study in my mind is a great proof of that. The strong brands of tomorrow really must change how they communicate their products and their brand.

Think about it. If you took your entire marketing budget (including media budget) and directed it all towards keeping conversations alive. Making sure you’re the talk of the town constantly. Stopping all paid marketing activities and instead focus on establishing and maintaining a dialogue with your target group. What would that do for your brand. Which TV channels would then talk about your product on prime time anyway. What blogs would follow your every move. How many viewers would you have on YouTube and other online channels. How would this support your sales force when they’re trying to get space on that tight shelf?

One thing is for sure. Your brand would be included in more emails from people I know, you would be rated higher on sites like Pricerunner and Compricer, Google would upgrade your SEO value, people would look for your products in the Yellow Pages, newspapers would write articles about you, your latest innovation would travel through social networks at the speed of light, radio channels would report on your success, the news anchor would speak about your product and somewhere in the end you might get more people to trust your company blog.

Of course I understand that you might still have to spend some dough on visibility, but the visibility of tomorrow is not about traditional media channels. Instead its about supporting your conversation on and offline. And this is something you shouldn’t pay your traditional media agency to do.

psst – Found the study through ReadWriteWeb.

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Curiosity. My greatest asset. Born 1971 and Raised in the suburbs of style city Stockholm, creativity was always a part of growing up. With a background as a former snowboard professional (with among others Greger Hagelin from WE and Per Holknekt from Odd Molly as sponsors) and one of the few in the world who nailed a 1440° spin, I started my career on the buyer side. Marketing exclusive golf brands such as Mizuno, King Cobra and Goldwin gave me insight into the demands of advertisers and consumers but foremost the complexity behind how products actually make it into the stores. Always full of ideas, I felt I needed to move on to the creative side of the business. Internet, on the rise in Sweden drew me into the digital revolution already in 1994. In 1998 however I joined Framfab, one of the late 90’s fast-moving companies. As a concept developer and key account manager I parted in creating award winning projects for clients like Vattenfall , Bredbandsbolaget, Nike Europe and Volvo Cars. I also held a position within Framfab Innovation. The incubator of new ideas within Framfab. After Framfab had grown in just two years from 130 employees to 3400, I felt I needed to move to a smaller organization. Abel & Baker - in 2001 the worlds most awarded digital advertising company attracted me. At A&B I tool part in winning the global account for adidas, but I also worked with MTV, Nokia, Toyota, Årets Kock, ICA and the Red Cross. In 2002 I left Abel & Baker to found something of my own - Foreign. Foreign - an ideas creator with focus on the communication of tomorrow - based in Stockholm, Sweden. Foreign quickly grew to 27 employees and was awarded in the Cannes Lions, D&AD, New York Festivals, London International Advertising Awards, Epica, Clio, Cresta and other award shows every year since start up. Foreign launched both digital and integrated global campaigns for BMW Motorrad, MTV, H&M, IKEA, Omega, Beckers, Com Hem, Intersport, Kosta Boda, adidas International and many more. In September 2008 I took the decision to close Foreign down after almost 7 years. I’m now consulting within the same business on my own. Apart from Foreign I’ve also founded WhiskyGrotto.com and Co-Founded PremierGoals.com. Thru the years, leadership and success has been important, but enjoying life, loyalty and sincerity is what drives me further. I consider my part in motivating adidas to let fairly small Foreign handle adidas global digital World Cup campaigns my proudest moment in business. The birth of my two daughters Ebba & Linn is my proudest moment in life.

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com/ Joan Vasquez

    So? In practical terms how does one get the “conversation” started? How do they keep the “conversation” going? I mean isn’t this a form of guerrilla marketing? Can you offer an example? Interesting concept.

    I had not seen the Forrester study either. Very interesting stats to consider for campaign strategies for sure.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com Joan Vasquez

    So? In practical terms how does one get the “conversation” started? How do they keep the “conversation” going? I mean isn’t this a form of guerrilla marketing? Can you offer an example? Interesting concept.

    I had not seen the Forrester study either. Very interesting stats to consider for campaign strategies for sure.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ ronnestam

    Getting the conversation started is all about adding attributes to every part of your brand and product/service that is worth talking about. For example. If you are selling a luxury watch. It’s not enough to design a beautiful watch.

    The watch has to have a certain amount of innovations that target different things that might appeal to watch fans. Something that triggers discussions, visibility and pr.

    More advanced clockwork than ever towards engineers and watch fans, a braver design than ever towards design fans, more advanced material than ever towards industrial designers, some sort of innovation that daily media cannot avoid writing about, the packaging has to be more innovative than your competitors, they way you market it has to be new and invite your target group, mash up all the content and distribute it in social media – place nothing on your servers except the code that masters it all. Follow every word online that is spoken about your brand and where possible, get involved. Supply people with as much content as possible. If people are discussing your new material on a forum, reshoot the watch with this in mind, spread the imagery, if someone likes your new design, put your designer online and let him chat with your target. They will go wow when the understand that your brand actually let anyone in the company represent the brand.

    Its all about starting fires and then making sure you know where its burning so you can go there and throw on more gasoline. But! You keep that fire burning always. Not only 4 weeks after the launch of a new product. Your budget should reflect this which means there should always be room to create new content that can spice up the conversation.

    I could of course go on for quite a while, but that’s another blog post ;)

  • http://www.ronnestam.com ronnestam

    Getting the conversation started is all about adding attributes to every part of your brand and product/service that is worth talking about. For example. If you are selling a luxury watch. It’s not enough to design a beautiful watch.

    The watch has to have a certain amount of innovations that target different things that might appeal to watch fans. Something that triggers discussions, visibility and pr.

    More advanced clockwork than ever towards engineers and watch fans, a braver design than ever towards design fans, more advanced material than ever towards industrial designers, some sort of innovation that daily media cannot avoid writing about, the packaging has to be more innovative than your competitors, they way you market it has to be new and invite your target group, mash up all the content and distribute it in social media – place nothing on your servers except the code that masters it all. Follow every word online that is spoken about your brand and where possible, get involved. Supply people with as much content as possible. If people are discussing your new material on a forum, reshoot the watch with this in mind, spread the imagery, if someone likes your new design, put your designer online and let him chat with your target. They will go wow when the understand that your brand actually let anyone in the company represent the brand.

    Its all about starting fires and then making sure you know where its burning so you can go there and throw on more gasoline. But! You keep that fire burning always. Not only 4 weeks after the launch of a new product. Your budget should reflect this which means there should always be room to create new content that can spice up the conversation.

    I could of course go on for quite a while, but that’s another blog post ;)

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ ronnestam

    Ah, forgot. I don’t think its about Guerrilla. Its about changing a company from inside and out and implementing creative thinking that focus on generating buzz on all levels. Basically the engineers on a car brand should be directed by a creative director that understands the consumer behavior of tomorrow.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com ronnestam

    Ah, forgot. I don’t think its about Guerrilla. Its about changing a company from inside and out and implementing creative thinking that focus on generating buzz on all levels. Basically the engineers on a car brand should be directed by a creative director that understands the consumer behavior of tomorrow.

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com/ Joan Vasquez

    Wow… you have given me a lot to think about. I am trying to get clientele established for my SEO services through BlitzLocal. Actually, I have recruited my sister and husband who will be doing the “leg work” while I teach them and direct them so they can become more informed about the business. BlitzLocal is different in several ways from other SEO companies, but getting that message across to potential clients and interested parties can be difficult at times.

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com Joan Vasquez

    Wow… you have given me a lot to think about. I am trying to get clientele established for my SEO services through BlitzLocal. Actually, I have recruited my sister and husband who will be doing the “leg work” while I teach them and direct them so they can become more informed about the business. BlitzLocal is different in several ways from other SEO companies, but getting that message across to potential clients and interested parties can be difficult at times.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ ronnestam

    Great! Feel free to feedback more input.
    Like your site by the way!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com ronnestam

    Great! Feel free to feedback more input.
    Like your site by the way!

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com/ Joan Vasquez

    Thanks…I am actually an analyst and freelance writer for BlitzLocal which has about 50+ engineers, designers, analysts, etc who work for them. Dennis Yu is the owner and founder. His blog is at http://www.dennisyu.com He worked for Yahoo for several years and managed 80% of their SEM budget for 5 years. He is not only knowledgeable though, he is just a really great person who wants to invest in others. He travels all over the world to conferences. Maybe you can get him in Sweden!

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com Joan Vasquez

    Thanks…I am actually an analyst and freelance writer for BlitzLocal which has about 50+ engineers, designers, analysts, etc who work for them. Dennis Yu is the owner and founder. His blog is at http://www.dennisyu.com He worked for Yahoo for several years and managed 80% of their SEM budget for 5 years. He is not only knowledgeable though, he is just a really great person who wants to invest in others. He travels all over the world to conferences. Maybe you can get him in Sweden!

  • http://www.alexanderdrewniak.com/ Alex Drewniak

    Excellent advice to Joan, I fully agree. Content is king (in this context the innovation of your brand that makes it worth talking about) and (conversational)Marketing/PR is queen – but we all know who rules the kitchen.

    As far as the Forrester report, I strongly believe that the numbers are “scewed” due to the inflation of social tools among “regular” businesses that try to make a seamless transition to the new media and communications landscape but fail miserably due to their own ignorance.

    With ignorance I mean that they fail to understand that conversational marketing is a long term effort that takes time, dedication, awareness and money and has to be carefully nurtured. Social media (company blogs for instance) are mediums that are meant to facilitate this. A lot of companies fail to come that realization and choose to go on the easy road, I.E. what’s familar and what they know best; to treat it (social media) like yet another channel to push sales. Epic fail.

    In a not too distant future, company blogs and corporate social media profiles will be ranked significantly higher on that list. No doubt in my mind.

  • http://www.alexanderdrewniak.com Alex Drewniak

    Excellent advice to Joan, I fully agree. Content is king (in this context the innovation of your brand that makes it worth talking about) and (conversational)Marketing/PR is queen – but we all know who rules the kitchen.

    As far as the Forrester report, I strongly believe that the numbers are “scewed” due to the inflation of social tools among “regular” businesses that try to make a seamless transition to the new media and communications landscape but fail miserably due to their own ignorance.

    With ignorance I mean that they fail to understand that conversational marketing is a long term effort that takes time, dedication, awareness and money and has to be carefully nurtured. Social media (company blogs for instance) are mediums that are meant to facilitate this. A lot of companies fail to come that realization and choose to go on the easy road, I.E. what’s familar and what they know best; to treat it (social media) like yet another channel to push sales. Epic fail.

    In a not too distant future, company blogs and corporate social media profiles will be ranked significantly higher on that list. No doubt in my mind.

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com/ Joan Vasquez

    I gave you the wrong url for Dennis’ blog … it is http://www.dennis-yu.com

    forgot the dash ;)

    I think twitter is a great venue for conversational marketing if done right. Have you seen the new skins at Twitter?
    http://twitter.com/pbSandbox

  • http://www.blitzlocal.com Joan Vasquez

    I gave you the wrong url for Dennis’ blog … it is http://www.dennis-yu.com

    forgot the dash ;)

    I think twitter is a great venue for conversational marketing if done right. Have you seen the new skins at Twitter?
    http://twitter.com/pbSandbox

  • http://www.alexanderdrewniak.com/ Alex Drewniak

    I believe those are custome made using this http://is.gd/beaj PSD.

  • http://www.alexanderdrewniak.com Alex Drewniak

    I believe those are custome made using this http://is.gd/beaj PSD.

  • http://bjornalberts.com/ Björn Alberts

    Alex, I totally agree with you and would like to add something. One thing that differ social communication from traditional communication is that you really have to the change the manners and the way you work inside your company as well. A true communications pro of to day has to be able to also manage changes in organizations. That adds another level complexity and is one the things that make digital communications much more interesting to work with than traditional communication is.

  • http://bjornalberts.com Björn Alberts

    Alex, I totally agree with you and would like to add something. One thing that differ social communication from traditional communication is that you really have to the change the manners and the way you work inside your company as well. A true communications pro of to day has to be able to also manage changes in organizations. That adds another level complexity and is one the things that make digital communications much more interesting to work with than traditional communication is.