Marketing Academics Pt.6

Marketing Academics Pt.6

Customer Service Cons

  • In contrast to EMI, Universal Music, the largest record company, has taken a more hostile view of MySpace. Last November it filed suit against the News Corp-owned site, accusing it of massive copyright violations (Chaffin, Joshua). The distinction between EMI and Universal may be organizational goals and how social-networking fits in with those goals. It is important, therefore, to consider the compatibility between the current and future potential of social networks and to consider exactly how that fits into the organization for customer service.
  • People don’t go to MySpace to find products or information. Users are so engrossed in making friends and posting party pictures that they pay little or no attention to the ads (Ante, Spencer et. al). This observation leads to the same problem faced during the dot-com boom and bust. If companies do not understand their own needs and consumer behavior, then just showing up and expecting success will result in certain failure. Without offering a unique selling point, or building value into the social network component of their marketing strategy, having a network may prove more destructive than productive if one does not focus on customer service – see the next point.
  • In an Advertising Ad article written by ad critic Bob Garfield, an article entitled, Oh my God, Wal-Mart! The Hub is like, so awful, lambasted Wal-Mart’s pathetic attempt at developing its own social network. Garfield’s commentary seemed to evoke rage at Wal-Mart’s inability to connect with its target; “dude, is there anything more excruciating than some lametard trying to speak to teenagers in their own language?” The point Garfield was making was that the social networking phenomenon is as much a cultural phenomenon as it is a technical one. When engaging a customer on a social network, you are entering their immediate social space, their living room and their bedroom. You are sitting in on your 12-18 segment as they sit around a bed and talk about their favorite music with fellow friends. Proceed with care or risk a certain loss in brand equity.
  • As much as the Internet is a free-for-all, so too are social networks. When a consumer claims, “I hate XYZ product,” the respective marketing manager should be looking at those sites to find out what’s wrong with the product – and why. It’s free market research. You don’t have to take the traditional route because people are volunteering all that information for free (Summerfield, Patti). Again, this is a reflection of Permission Marketing of which Seth Godin spoke.
  • The problem with Consumer Generated Media: “If you are a brand like Disney, you don’t want to be around much CGM because you don’t want the Disney name to be around content that is not monitored” (Summerfield, Patti). For some brands, this is simply not possible. See APPENDIX 3 for a worse case scenario.

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