Pushing and pulling

There’s a rather revealing little piece in today’s Online Media Daily about the fear that the Media 1.0 crowd has about so-called “user-generated” content.

Bermel (Mary Bermel, interactive director for Hewlett-Packard) admitted she was “scared to death” of the prospect, while Trimble (John Trimble, SVP of branded sales for Fox Interactive) and Koerner (Stacey Lynn Koerner, president of consumer experience practice for Interpublic) were ambivalent.

User-generated content brings “huge additional pressure,” Bermel said. “We want our brand in the marketplace presented in a certain way. Our advertising teams are used to push marketing–now we’re asking them to create pull marketing, things that will attract people to our brand.”

She also decried that “We say the new metric is engagement, but when people ask what that is, we can’t really tell them.”

Trimble said there was a “major paradigm shift” underway…

There is so much to say here that I don’t know where to begin.

As Jeff Jarvis says, it’s “not users, not generated, and not content.” The term itself is used by mainstreamers to pigeonhole something that better enables them to (mis)understand it. These people will choke on the term rather than see it for what it really is, people being people.

They’re not scared of the UGC as much as they are of losing control. This line — we want our brand in the marketplace presented in a certain way — is the very heart of what’s under assault in the Media 2.0 space. “A certain way,” in this context, means that which will provide the most profit, the truth be damned. As Seth Godin recently told an audience at Google, “All marketers are liars,” and isn’t that the license accorded to push marketing?

As I wrote long ago, attraction is the key concept for marketing in the 2.0 space, not promotion.

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