Max Kalehoff, vice president of marketing for Nielsen BuzzMetrics, a global measurement service for user-generated media, makes clear that UGM’s popularity exists at least partly "because all the other controllable stuff is losing effectiveness."
Kalehoff counsels advertisers to be authentic and transparent. "Practice common sense ethics," he says. "Be a champion of the consumer. You can no longer market a product that sucks. Consumers talk to one another. Search engines are becoming not just ways to find data on the web but powerful enablers or facilitators for passionate information seekers. As a result, it comes down to less tolerance by the consumer. Consumer respect is an emerging theme here. Advertisers need to understand WOM and the interaction and process and flow surrounding it."
The fact is that consumers have always consumed, internalized, regurgitated and bastardized the essence of brands – when they talk about them. But the Internet has spawned consumer-generated media, the permanent digital residue left behind by consumers, often reflecting consumers’ good and bad experiences with brands. With the evidence of CGM, marketers can no longer pretend they have authoritarian control. Controlled messages (aka “corporate masturbation”) now reside alongside consumer messages like never before. How can brands survive? It’s simple: respect the customer like never before.