User generated content (UGC) is a buzz phrase that has our industry all atwitter. Mostly, marketing communications processionals are scrambling to harness the power of UGC for to move product. But here’s the thing: the consumers we’re targeting with UGC — X, Y & Millennials — aren’t buying. They’re sharing, and learning and building relationships online. Mostly with other online-people and sometimes with brands.
CurrentMarketing has always been a technologically forward-thinking company and we have long included email blasts, websites and seasonal web content as a part of our clients’ marketing mix. Cue it up…pull the trigger…next! It became a parallel function — in timing and execution — to the traditional media it reinforced or replaced.
But UGC is more of a slow cooker than a microwave. It takes time, thought and coordination. Mostly time. Reggie Bradford points out in a recent post that UGC and other social media builds long-term assets, requiring persistence, along with appropriate integration with a brand’s traditional promotional calendar. It must be nurtured and cared for.
There are some who define a “brand” as the consumer’s relationship with a product or service. UGC builds that relationship stronger and deeper than any award-winning campaign. I haven’t seen the proof that it’s enough all by itself.
So while traditional media like broadcast and print — and nowinteractive media like podcasts, SMS text programss, and blogs — may still have a place in the marketing mix, social networking also need to be integrated into promotions and brand building formerly entrusted these media.
There are plenty of well known B2C brands that are killing it on social media. Wendy’s has gained thousands of followers and fans with their