Advertising, PR, and Marketing Suck! Now What?

The second day I have directly attended my first event of this kind. It was a panel about where PR agencies and marketers are failing and the role of new social medias when managing a product online.
There was obviously a lot of representatives of the marketing and social media world and I have to say that the networking part is a really great opportunity to get in touch with entrepreneurs and other interesting contacts.

The panel: Guy Kawasaki (well-known Silicon Valley venture capitalist), Renee Blodgett (President of Blodgett Communications), Louis Gray (, Loic Le Meur (Founder of Seesmic) and Steve Patrizi (VP of Sales, LinkedIn)

First, a funny video, Guy Kawasaki introducing the panel:

Here are some of the highlights: (thanks to Abhishek Gattani)

What would you do if you had a great product in a niche and zero dollars in marketing?

Reach out to your personal network such as friends, family, and colleagues and possibly get some thought leaders to use your product. Focus on the second tier of bloggers, make them fans of your product and they will market the product for you at no cost. Invest in building a community by being honest and transparent; however be aware that this takes time. Release your product as soon as possible, learn from mistakes, and be honest to your consumers about fixes. Another idea is to find your consumers on Twitter, follow them, and engage in conversations. However, be careful, since you are walking a thin line between good marketing and spam here.

What would you do if you now had $10,000 dollars in marketing? How would you put it to use?

Hire a community relations intern to listen to your customers, actively respond to every piece of feedback, and turn customers into advocates. You can also try creating a fun video of your product and distribute it virally. Thousand dollar press releases are an option too, but only for communicating major changes. One should also invest in targeted online marketing with Google AdWords. Louis Gray has seen success selling even $350,000 products using just AdWords.

What is role of an advertising agency specializing in social media for big companies? Should they just do it on their own?

Everyone agreed that advertising and PR firms add significant value. Especially since big companies need to change old ways and adapt to social media. Often CEOs come from a technical background, and an agency plays a critical role in getting the messaging and branding right. However, simply hiring a firm is not enough  –a company has to commit resources to working actively with the agency on responding to the feedback received from customers.

Loic using some of Tim Ferriss's words: ;-)

At the end, Loic also noticed that Guy Kawasaki has business card with stickers on backside. Cool idea!

I conclude with a quote from Steve Patrizi:

MySpace is your bar, Facebook your backyard BBQ, Linkedin your office.

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