We’re blogging live from Mediabistro Circus today where we just caught a panel on marketing in an era dominated by user generated content and social networking. The panelists– Larry Weintraub CEO and co-founder of Fanscape, Garrick Schmitt from Razorfish, Valeria Maltoni of ConversationAgent.com, and Doug Jaeger Founder and CEO of TheHappyCorp Global discussed how the marketing landscape is changing and strategies for businesses to raise awareness of their brands in the digital space.
Maltoni and Weintraub focused on the importance of maintaining authenticity when marketing yourself online in order to gain the trust of potential customers. Weintraub told WebNewser that this can be accomplished by “constantly improv[ing]… transparency of who is a paid blogger and who is not.” Schmitt also discussed how social media can be a useful tool for companies to get customer feedback citing the example of the Starbucks splash stick, which was created as a result of customer requests received in an online suggestion box.
Though the panelists said social media can be a valuable tool to help businesses get the word out about their product, actually earning revenue from digital content seems to be a much trickier proposition. Weintraub noted that “no one’s really answered yet how to monetize the content that’s proliferating online.” After the panel we asked Jaeger how he thought media companies might be able to make money from social media. Jaeger suggested that businesses might be able to turn a profit through social networking by creating niche communities for their audiences because, “whoever owns the network has the opportunity to monetize it because they understand what the people are talking about and they’re likely to put the right types of brands next to those conversations.”