The never-ending story & the “conversation agency” trap

The founder of a brilliantly successful social media agency said today that marketing is no longer about stories, it is about joining existing conversations and provoking new ones.

If that’s the truth, I may as well pack up and leave.  As a digital marketeer, I’m interested in telling the best possible brand & product stories and using whatever necessary digital technologies to do that.

If the stories are lost and all that is left are brands trying to push the right buttons to enable mindless conversations involving the brand name across social media platforms, what’s the point?

The mindset of using digital tools and social media platforms to tell effective brand stories is being lost as agencies position themselves as the masters of conversation generation (merely one facet of PR or social media marketing’s job).

I would argue that you should use social media to best tell the story of a brand, not to stack up numbers of brand conversations generated or jumped into.  Use social media to make the brand stories live and breathe most effectively.  Digital marketing is about a lot more than creating or judging activity around how many immediate conversations it with provokes online.

Digital marketeers are like theatre directors with the latest staging designs, set technologies and daring actors at their disposal; for the sake of the brands they work on, they should not reduce themselves to those holding the prompt script at the side, shouting out lines they hope the actors will pick up on.

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