Wednesday, July 11th, 2007...
the myths of social engagement: #2
myth #1 can be found here.
myth #2: ENGAGEMENT MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY EXPOSURE
it’s funny that as much time as i’ve spent explaining the differences between the effects of engagement vs. exposure, it seems i spend just as much time explaining the value of combining engagement AND exposure. it’s as if battle lines were drawn somewhere between the two and everyone decided it was imperative to pick a side about which one is more important. like you’re either a cat person or a dog person. carpets or hardwood. mac or pc. advertising or community.
each one’s got their defenses and excuses, right? advertising is all like, we’ve been doing it this way forever, and we’ll listen to what community’s got to say, but we’ll still play it by our rules. and community’s all like, obviously advertising’s just a dinosaur; they just don’t get it. and so it goes, with advertising trying to spray over its bald spot with engagement concessions while community tries to beef up its resume with ROI success metrics.
but maybe… couldn’t it make sense to consider that dog and cat people are both pet people? and even if you’re down with the wall-to-wall you’ve still got tile in your kitchen, and the folks with the parquet have rugs and bathmats for strategic purposes. and as for mac vs. pc… that might hint at the root of the fissure issue.
for 10 years i used a pc. and then 2 years ago, when my old toshiba fell and couldn’t get up, i decided to buy a mac. i can chalk it up to some practical and financial reasons if you ask me to, but the truth is those reasons weren’t really so much deciding factors as justifications for the decision that had pretty much already been made. the truth is that if you’re young and hip and need a new computer, buying a mac is just the thing you’re supposed to do. (hey man, identity marketing wouldn’t be so effective if it didn’t work on EVERYONE.) and that’s kind of the same way that the division between advertising and community seems to go down.
you know, while i’m here, i may as well point out that when i say advertising i’m including PR too. i’m including ANY kind of marketing technique focused on exposure vs. on engagement. the team you go to bat for is determined by which side represents YOUR identity.
your years of experience, your industry awards, or your tech savviness, your youth and hipness. and, sure, whichever side of the tracks you come from has a whole lot of other folks there who fit that identity profile, and your approach translates for them, but… what good does YOUR professional identity expression actually do, you know, like, the campaign? or…the USER? or the consumer….
my point is that an engagement strategy is not an upgraded substitute for a promotional campaign. and the measurement of the value of engagement if evaluated independent of the influence of exposure strategies is ridiculous. there’s a reason why the phrase “to work in concert” exists. imagine an orchestra insisting on making the violins compete with the percussion section to demonstrate which one is more worthy. marketing is a strategy symphony, and not the kind of strategy that’s about figuring out how to kick all the other instruments off the island, yo.
so how do we move beyond simply defending our particular tribal affiliations? how do we shift the focus from the segregation between exposure and engagement, to methods for integrating the two processes and, ideally, to creating ways for each to be enhanced by the other?