Passion & Greed. That’s it. Those two words account for so much failure in new media, I can’t even begin to tell you. But I can tell you why, and you can fix it. We’ve all been there. Sitting in the brainstorming meeting feeling the energy. Organizing ideas, turning ideas into goals, and building plans to meet those goals. And it’s good. 500 twitter followers, 750 facebook friends and 1000 blog readers by third-quarter of next year. Plans turn to implementation, and you slowly begin notice it. We got greedy. When did it happen? How did it happen? Does this sound familiar?
"We’re collecting email address when they sign-up for our newsletter, why not collect name too. Name is a very common field, it should not impact our result, much. To get our club offers in the mail they’ll also need address, but we won’t make it required, so it should not impact our result, much. We’ll just add some text explaining. Our partners ask that we add a checkbox for marketing permission. Again, optional. And some preferences so that we can utilized this new media stuff to really segment them, just a couple check boxes… and we can save the extra data to our main database. IT says we should use captcha since we’re now sending a thank you email and allowing for send-to-friend functionality. This form is getting quite long now, should we make a second page so we don’t lose too many potentials?"
It’s just that easy. We lose sight of the goal, just blur it a little, and a little more, until what once seemed reasonable has now become a nearly impossible task for even the largest campaigns. What started off with a simple goal, make friends & cultivate relationships, is no longer marketing 2.0. This is a base. In itself not anymore profitable then a barbecue and stimulating conversation with your neighbor. The goal is to create the base, not to utilize it. That comes later. Much later.
Look, for instance, at the same situation in a new setting, a real setting. You’re at that same neighbor’s barbecue and you make a new friend, except this time you’ve brought a notebook. You introduce yourself as the company you work for. You take notes on their likes and their dislikes and offer nothing of yourself. You ask for their full name and address, email (ask twice — make sure they got it right), maybe phone number, but don’t argue if they refuse. You ask if they mind if an associate contacts them to sell them something else based on the information they’ve provided. Then, at the end of the conversation, you say "we should be friends."
Just as easy, but slightly different in it’s execution, is the dispassionate blogger or the twitter friend with nothing to say. I hear this all the time: "let’s give it a try" and "we’ll proceed cautiously by funding it after we see some results." After? You expect it to fail and you’re insuring against it. Your heart is not in it; there’s no passion. Your content will reflect this. You are not putting your best foot forward yet you still expect people to respond. Or do you? Your blog has nothing to say because you’ve allotted no time (money = time) for research. Your twitter account is stagnant except for a few remarks on the weather or a conference you attended. You’ve created a facebook profile to which all your employees were told to friend just to seed it. To reiterate… "employees were told to friend." Not even your employees have an interest. Would you respond to this? Do you still expect your customers to? Your goal has shifted; the scope has creeped. You are no longer interested in making friends and cultivating relationships. You are now looking for results.
Greed and lack of passion have perverted the original new media goal into a carnivorous idea such that you either must make friends and profit from them at the same time, or offering nothing of yourself and ask your customers to do all the work on faith. These ideas feed off themselves in a negative way. They would not survive in society therefore they cannot survive in new media. Not without constant attention. Your attention. And then you realize. You’ve failed.
Don’t do that.