Why do companies fear social marketing?

Why do companies fear social marketing (using blogs, social networks, and feeds)? The answer is fairly simple; they see it as unchartered territory. This is according to a recent Coremetrics survey of marketers. 

But you know what? Those marketers are wrong.

Social marketing and its mediums (again blogs, social networks, and feeds) is simply word-of-mouth marketing taking on a new form. 

Are the forms new? Most certainly. But the function of the forms is not new. People have always and will always look to the “influencers” and early adopters to see if they recommend a product or service.

So, if the word-of-mouth function has been around for decades and marketers have been using it for decades, then why is there this big fear or hesitation to get involved? 

Fearing what’s new and being afraid to try new strategies and tactics causes a company to become ordinary.

If you ask me, it doesn’t make sense.

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5 Responses to “Why do companies fear social marketing?”


  1. 1 ben4rest January 31, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    From what I’ve gathered, company’s are afraid of it because the blog-o-sphere quickly developed a reputation a few years ago of being relentless with companies that even hinted at advertising through social marketing.

  2. 2 David Hattenbach January 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    I think the biggest reason is control and courage. Most companies are comfortable “pushing” their brands and products on people in a mass media format. This keeps them in control. Sure, they solicit consumer feedback, but at the end of the day, they are most comfortable controlling the marketing message. Yes, there has always been word of mouth, but never has it been organized and collected into a unified force like it is in the blogisphere. A brand getting involved with social media is like letting the consumer “have their way with you.” Most brands aren’t couragous enough to “co-create” with consumers.

  3. 3 Darrin February 11, 2008 at 10:21 am

    I agree with David. It was easy to ignore the disparate voices of dissent before the Internet began empowering consumers. Many companies still want to pretend they can control the conversation. Blocking social media gives them a level of comfort that they are still in control.

    I think more and more companies are having a rude awakening to the fact that they no longer control the conversation. But they’re still struggling against the tide, trying to do business the old way until they’re forcibly swept along in the current.

  4. 4 Success Is November 7, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Social marketing via social networks could comparable to “word of mouth” on steriods. Some companies don’t worry too much about word of mouth, while others thrive on it. In the case where a company knowingly pisses off a client here and there, they may see this as a threat as a pissed client may easily share their experience with the world. Of course, there is always the positives side of the coin, which would be a good experience being shared in a social online medium.


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Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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