A term I heard over and over again at the WOMMA Summit was “Consumer Generated Media”. Basically a number of agency types were using this term to describe things like forum posts, blog entries, podcasts, consumer created videos and audio.. the “digital trail”.
Intelliseek handed out white papers on the subject, and a number of presenters included it in their PPT slides.
Intelliseek, for instance, says:
So can word-of-mouth be really be quantified?
Absolutely. Consumers are leaving a generous “digital trail” of brand-specific buzz on message boards, online forums, ratings and review sites, and blogs. We call this Consumer-Generated Media (CGM). CGM plays a critical role in shaping consumer perceptions, awareness, and purchase intent. Advanced text mining?our core technology?helps us aggregate, organize, translate, and, yes, “quantify” millions of consumer “impressions.”
This term really bugs me. These items aren’t “media”, it’s content. Pure, unadulterated, wonderful content.
One of the things that bugged me about the WOMMA is the amount of people trying to figure out how to apply traditional marketing thinking to these new concepts of of Word-of-Mouth and community. To use the word “media” to describe what consumers are creating shows me that we, as an industry, still don’t quite get it.
I know this may sound nit-picky, and maybe it is. But to me, it showcases why we’ve still got a long way to go.