I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself getting increasingly tired (sometimes, even irritated) when I encounter one of the many "new marketing" buzzwords out there.
"Conversation" is one of those words; it's just starting to really bug me, and I'm not entirely sure why. It could be a combination of the self-righteous/pious way in which it is tossed around and the mostly rhetorical way in which it's used. But it might also have to do with my belief that, taken as a tactic, it's shallow and utterly meaningless. There have to be deeper motivations for a brand to mean it, conversation has to be baked into the DNA as Umair Haque puts it.
[I want to pull an excerpt from Brian Oberkirch on this subject. He knows what he's talking about, and he has a good way of putting things:
firms underestimate the deep changes in marketing and go for surface improvements. What Foucault would call a discontinuity in the very mode of knowledge — there is a gap between marketing as we knew it and what we will come to practice.
So, we get ‘conversational marketing’ and other examples of what I call Advertising By Other Means. Or you add a ’social media strategy’, a ‘facebook strategy’ or an iPhone app to the mix. You spam people via bookmarking services. Add them as ‘friends’ on their social networks. Invite users to co-create ads. [Note: the only people who want to make ads are would-be ad people. Please to stop with the DIY ad campaigns. Your self-centeredness is showing.] Such tactics are stop gap, incremental, often disengenious, and they fundamentally misunderstand the radical nature of the shift.