Marketing and the Conversation Strategy


In the new world of marketing and advertising, it’s not as much about your message as it is about engaging your audience in a dialogue about your message. Long ago marketing was all about exposing a product to the public. As competition grew and more products and services continued to vie for our attention, exposing a product was no longer enough. Marketers then began positioning it within a category or industry. They strived to place products in the minds of consumers by creating an unique promise, claim, or even story. But in today’s social-media drive culture, position is not enough. Consumers want a conversation with their favorite brands.


Consumers now want, and will soon demand, marketing that gives them a chance to dialog with their brands of choice. It’s not enough for us to know the story behind our favorite car, soap, or burrito. We now want to be able to share our impressions, comments, praise, and ideas with the products we care about. We want to engage with the brands we love. While that might seem like a lot of work for brand managers, it has its rewards as well.

Once I become part of the conversation with the brands I care for, I will gladly leverage my network for their benefit. Recently I have tweeted about Robert Graham shirts; I have posted the Chipotle commercial on my Facebook wall; and I have written a post about Southwest Airlines. These are brands that have engaged me in a conversation. They have reached out to me via Twitter or Facebook and have established a conversation, even something as simple as acknowledging a tweet.

What about your marketing strategy? Have you begun a conversation with your consumers?  Are you ready to do so now? 

  • Mark

    That’s a struggle for our company. We do not understand social media and there’s no strategy to pursuit at this point. 

    • Mark, unless the leaders see the value of social media engagement, this strategy will be seeing as something frivolous and not worth pursuing. 

  • Sally Epps

    Maurilio, that’s great insight. But who in a company should be in charge of the social engagement? 

    • I would find someone who is already using social media effectively on a personal level and who also understands the DNA of the company. These are two critical components to make sure the strategy works. 

  • Robert Blackburn, Jr

    You are spot on.
    Marketing used to be one way, company / producer to consumer. Social media usage with respect to brands or companies started out as one way as well, but mainly focused on complaints or failures from the consumer out to the world. Now that the more social media aware producers are actually replying (to use Twitter as an example), we are finally seeing “conversation”.
    When a producer replies to a complaint tweet (hopefully with a fix) or thanks a sender for a praise tweet, they are getting almost free advertising. Companies need to realize that everything they say, tweet, or post is marketing, either for them or for their competitor (i.e., driving customers away towards their competition).

    Marketing strategy is now a coordinated effort involving print, radio, video, and conversation through social engagement. The mix and prioritization is what will differentiate the successful brand manager from the rest.

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