Wondering Out Loud

Ducking the Social Media Sledge Hammer

I got sucked-in today and am still beating myself up over it. I fell for the old bait and switch not once, but twice, and got hit by the social media sledge hammer. In this case the sledge hammer came in the form of two whitepapers that went from informative and educational to heavy-handed marketing in the span of a couple of paragraphs.

One was going to tell me how to determine when it was time to leave the free paid-search management tools (Google Adwords, etc.) behind in favor of a more robust version paid version. The second, still dealing with paid search, said I would learn about the different ways of tracking conversions and the variety of cookies that can be placed on a searcher’s computer. Sadly, neither came close to providing me with anything I would considered even remotely educational. Both showed a complete lack of depth and were anything but interesting. Both were spectacular failures.

But that’s not the worst of it.

While reading it became very obvious that both were thinly veiled marketing brochures. I may be a purist when it comes to whitepapers, but I am of the belief that their role is to educate readers and, while doing so, establish the author – individual(s) or company – as a thought and industry leader. A well written and thoughtful whitepaper doesn’t need any marketing spin because the reader will make all of the necessary connections simply by consuming the document.

When I come across marketing fluff disguised as thoughtful analysis, my first thought is that the company doesn’t have the resources to create the content,  lacks the internal SME’s, or doesn’t have confidence in their own abilities.

Traditional marketing is for making claims. Social is for substantiating those claims. Each should inform and support the other, but mixing them can leave a bad taste in your prospect’s mouth.

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June 30, 2011 - Posted by | Marketing, Social Media | , , , ,

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