Consumer generated content (also known as user-generated content or consumer generated media) is “any material created and uploaded to the Internet by non-media professionals.” The earliest forms of CGC were discussion networks in the 1980s and in the late-1990s, rating sites became popular. Nowadays, CGC is flooding the internet with the popularity of websites like Facebook, YouTube, and Wikipedia. Consumer generated content consists of review sites, wikis, blogs, forums, social networking sites, content sharing sites, and more. With faster internet connections, people are now able to upload more files, pictures, and videos onto the internet.
This growing popularity of consumer generated content has caused good and bad consequences. Consumer generated content has allowed a larger information base on the web. The consumer can now create content and share information and opinions. Websites like LinkedIn and Facebook make it easier to network with professionals and keep in touch with friends. However, despite the benefits of CGC, there are a few problems that are concerning to media professionals. A problem with CGC is its reliability. CGC can be created by anyone with an internet connection. Sources may not be credible and information may be biased2.
Consumer generated content, whether good or bad, has its effects on advertising. Advertising has become more interactive as opposed to one-way messages1. Advertisers must be careful, because there is less control over CGC. Therefore, ads are incorporated with little clutter, becoming just another opinion in the mix. Advertisers are still unsure how to go about CGC ads, but they will be forced to learn because not adapting to this change may bring on worse consequences1.
Paul Chin. “The Value of User-Generated Content, Part 1.” Intranet Journal. Mar 2006. <http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200603/ij_03_07_06a.html>.
MSU Spartan Interns Rock!
The digital marketing interns from Michigan State University have been awesome this summer 2008. Our first class for the Digital Marketing Internship at Ingenex Digital Marketing yielded some incredible results.
Since it was our first semester, we all learned together. But I can say that the class of Grant Heitkamp, Kevin Conlon and Lia Homeister has been wonderful.
Kevin Conlon is an excellent people person. His relationship building skills, and his can do attitude will make him a great addition to any team. He has helped us push forward some big projects this summer, and he has learned all about digital marketing on the way. I see Kevin as an account manager or sales executive. And anyone who can sell, and knows digital will go far in this business.
Grant Heitkamp has a wonderful grasp of digital marketing. If you view his blog and see what he’s posted to the eco-friendly internship blog, you know what I’m talking about. Grant came up with the name Social Harbor for our new Social Media Professional Management product we are launching. Grant also took on more work and spent some additional hours at Ingenex headquarters. You headhunters out there, I would grab this guy. He plans to go to Miami Ad School, but we’ll have to see about that.
Lia Homeister has been a quiet and talented addition to our team this summer. She gets things done. She has done a stellar job of completing every assignment, and she is smart. Her wonderful personality, combined with her work ethic will make her an asset to any agency that picks her up. Of course, they will have to wait another couple years. Lia is a Junior at Michigan State this coming year. I am impressed by her maturity. And I hope she sticks with Digital moving forward. She plans to study abroad in Korea in the fall and you can follow her travels on her blog.
The next class of eco-friendly interns has some big shoes to fill. I am sure that MSU will send another wonderful class. As for what I am looking for? People with curiosity. Smart people. Who want to understand and master the digital media. I know this is where the future of our business lies. And I want students who know this too, and want to be the best. I hope to help Grant, Kevin and Lia all land good jobs in the industry. I want to thank them for their hard work. They are stars!
Social media websites is having positive and negative effects on companies. Word-of-mouth advertising has increased significantly because of social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, causing an increase in brand awareness and marketing sales. Marketwatch wrote an article about this topic, saying that companies that take advantage of social media will more likely have visibility in consumer generated content and effectiveness in marketing. With the decline of traditional marketing effectiveness, social media may be the future of marketing.
Even though word-of-mouth may spread good news, it can also spread the bad. ZDNet wrote an article about how social media may increase identity theft on websites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. Most recently, a person on Twitter who claimed to be a representative of ExxonMobil was confirmed untrue. This has caused people to think that social media websites are untrustworthy and dishonest. These websites have been accused of not doing enough to secure a person’s identity (or brand, in this case). Despite incidents like this, the marketing world cannot ignore the rising influence of social media and must be prepared of how it will affect marketing as a whole.
Gas Discounts for Cash Purchases
In an attempt to maintain profit levels, gas stations have started to offer discounts of up to 10 cents a gallon for drivers willing to pay with cash. These discounts are being offered as a way to increase traffic to convenience stores attached to gas stations as well as to limit the transaction fee associated with credit card transactions. By paying cash, consumers are able to skip out on the transaction fee that is normally charged to them to use a credit card.
For more on Credit v. Cash, visit CNN.com