Conversational Marketing Demands 'Conversation Department'
Reacting to a column UnderScore Marketing's Tom Hespos wrote about marketer's fear and laziness to engage in meaningful conversations with consumers, I wrote a piece calling for the creation of a "Conversation Department," a department whose sole responsibility would be to listen to what is being said about a given brand in blog posts, discussion boards, forums and other methods of group conversation, join the ongoing conversations about the brand and make sure the company properly reacts to conversational opinion by addressing concerns immediately. Today, Tom goes a bit further with this and proposes a structure for a conversation department and how it might be staffed.
The more we talk about listening, joining and learning from conversations, while everyone in a company should be doing this, it makes more and more sense for companies and agencies to created a dedicated conversation department.
Topic: Agencies, Brands, Opinion, Weblogs, Word of Mouth
After sitting through BlogOn for two days, I've been also thinking about the conversation department. But I think it already exists in a few companies - CafePress, blog networks, ebay - in the form of the Community Manager. I believe that some day every company will have a Community Manager. And if this social media paradigm is really that big, then most of the large companies will some day have a Chief Community Officer. I say that because it's really hard to figure out who the Community Manager reports to - marketing, CS, sales? Community will is an entire function in the corporation. By the way, "hi" Steve!
Admittedly, I haven't read all the articles, just this blog post, so I can't say I'm familiar with the proposals for the Conversation Department. Nonetheless, I feel that's simply part of my job as a marketer.
Sure, if I was sitting on a massive multi-million dollar marketing budget, maybe I'd hire someone to do this for me... but then again, no, if I'm in a position of a brand steward, I want to see this first-hand and respond first-hand.
That being said, any technology that can help me do my job better in terms of monitoring such conversations is a must-have for me (budget permitting; I'm partial to the free stuff myself).
Its getting kind of hard with the internet.