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Customers, stakeholders and communications ethics

Posted: February 21, 2011 at 11:42 am No Comments »
Big night tonight: @CisionUK will be in the chair for a #CommsChat session entitled “Setting and Measuring ROI Metrics“. For those unfamiliar with #CommsChat, it’s a lively UK-based, weekly Twitter chat that looks at all aspects of communications, though usually through a social media lens.

Last Thursday, as a warm-up, I attended B2B Marketing’s Maximising Social Media ROI seminar, which took place just down the road from our offices at The Brewery. (Nice venue, if not quite as much fun as it sounds.)

For someone more used to spending time with PRs, a roomful of B2B marketers afforded an interesting perspective on social media measurement. For one thing, it was striking just how much the concerns and approach of marketers in this field mirrored those of social media PRs. Further evidence, it seems, for those oft-repeated claims that social media is blurring lines between business functions, particularly those departments engaged in communications.

There was one big difference though. At the B2B Marketing event, the presenters’ focus was clearly on customers; for comms, I would say, there is a greater emphasis on stakeholders. It’s an interesting distinction, especially in light of ethical questions voiced at the seminar, where there was clearly some unease about the use on online tracking, at least to the extent that some of the presenters were mandating.

Perhaps this is an enduring distinction between marketers and PRs: when customers are the exclusive focus, ethics are a luxury that’s there to be debated; where stakeholders are concerned, ethical considerations are business-critical.

I’m not sure if any of this will come up this evening – though if anyone fancies shifting the focus to the ROI of ethics, I’m there – but I’ve never found #CommsChat anything less than an hour well spent. Come along this evening and get involved (or just lurk) as I try my damnedest to uphold that tradition.

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About the author: paulmiller

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