Monday, December 1, 2008

What Keeps Marketers Up at Night

What do the questions/comments/messages that people post in the Marketing Executive Group on LinkedIn tell us? You would think that since there are 7,676 members as of December 1st, 2008 it would be a good bellwether for what marketers are doing, thinking, struggling with these days.

To keep it manageable, I only looked at the month of November. There were 100 posts which made figuring out the numbers quite easy. Here’s what I found.

Blatant self promotion – 38% of people who posted were selling themselves or their products/services and rarely pretending they were doing much else. This includes one marketing consultant who accounted for about 50% of it. I'm also including people who posted a question directly related to the name of their company or business – so it was simple to see where it was coming from. I guess this is becoming a new form of lead generation.

Marketing Questions – 37% appeared to be legitimate marketing questions centered around news of the day or a topic of interest. The consultant mentioned above posted a couple of these too. Questions that got 10 or more responses:

Which commercial do you like better? There was a link to two spots to choose from – and a request for a candid opinion. 11 comments.

Do you think social media/buzz marketing should become a topic taught at the undergraduate or graduate marketing level in college? 15 comments

Please share an inspiring quote. 30 comments

For those whose marketing budgets are determined by a % of sales, what are some reasonable numbers you are seeing? 13 comments

Please advise what Web 2.0 tools/strategies can be used to promote a chocolate bar? 16 comments

And my personal favorite - Why are "discussions" on this forum mostly self-serving spam? 26 comments

Job Seekers – 18% of posts were from people who posted their resumes and are looking for jobs.

The Rest – The other 7% were a combination of news, requests for partnerships, and international people checking in.

In social media there is a term called Lurker. These are the people who read the discussion boards but don't often comment. Personally when I start seeing blatant self promotion I stop reading. It's too much work to separate out the stuff that might be of interest.

So what does this mini-analysis tell us:

That we’re all experimenting with this forum and no one knows how to use it effectively.

That no one is policing this group's discussions.

That these boards are becoming places where marketers look for jobs.

That people respond to an eclectic mix of questions.

That blatant self-promotion was ignored - few or no comments were posted to these.

That we hurt the likelihood of people responding by posting things that don't help us.

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