Compete's Stephen Dimarco on user-generated content
Stephen Dimarco, vice president and chief marketing officer of Compete Inc., sees four reasons why consumers are interested in creating their own content -- socializing, entertainment, education, influencing.
Transcript: Compete's Stephen Dimarco on user-generated content
We think about user-generated content, we have a panel of 2 million consumers who we have permission to see on a daily basis -- all of the Web sites they go to, what they do on those Web sites. We can ask them questions via surveys about why they're doing things. It's a great insight into why consumers are getting involved in user-generated content.
And clearly marketers like it because it's a new fresh horizon for them to explore. From a consumer perspective, we see four reasons why users are getting involved with user generated content.
First, they like to meet people. That kind of explains the Myspace phenomenon. Second, they like the entertainment aspect. If you look at campaigns like the Doritos campaign, or the Dove beauty campaign, they see real value in consumer generated advertising. They find that frankly, it's more entertaining than the content that marketers or the media can create. The third reason why people do this kind of stuff is because they like to learn from others, so it's a great way to learn about products and services from real people who have used it from real situations. And then the final reason why people embrace UGC is they want to influence others. If you think about the upcoming presidential campaign and imagine the amount of user-generated content around which candidates people are going to vote for and why. And so there are those four things on the consumer side that drive people to UGC. So that's a long winded way of saying it's absolutely not a hype. It's something that's here to stay. And something people are getting a lot of value out of.
If you look at the early beginnings of the Internet, and the evolution of the Web and the early incarnations of what came before the Web, people were talking about Genie this morning, and Prodigy and Compuserve. A lot of the reasons people turned to that technology was because there was a community of interest there. Typically around very focused things related to technology. So it was kind of a geeky, center for geeky folks to talk about the latest breakthroughs in technology. Nowadays we see a great demographic shift and technical shift. There are younger folks that have grown up with the Web, who are using the Web in way that older folks like myself never could have imagined -- combined with broadband adoptions, combined with some trends that are going around with things like reality TV. All of these diverse inputs are creating this reason for UGC to exist in ways that hasn't reached -- So it's definitely on a bigger scale than existed before.
So how does UGC move from of a one-off original contest centric model to one that's more durable, where companies embrace it and stick with it over a longer years rather than just a campaign, that's a great question. We see kind of a couple of ways of doing that. And since we have a lot of data, and help our marketing clients sift through the data, we always go to view actual case studies of actual companies.
So Sheraton is great model. Last year, Sheraton decided to redesign its Website and rather than focus on optimizing the Website to drive bookings, or reservations, that-s typically what travel companies do because it's a very competitive marketplace, Sheraton decided to get very courageous and redesign the site around a social platform. So when you got to Sheraton.com right now, the first thing you'll see is stories that individual people have posted about their experiences at individual properties. It's a really refreshing way to learn about properties. We joke back about Compete, about choosing the Jr. Studio suite and a King Deluxe suite, and other than square feet and the fact that one has wireless and one doesn't, you really don t know the difference between the rooms are. And you can read content that other people have posted about how noisy the hotel is, how helpful the staff is, what it s like for children, it's really useful. That database of information about those properties is going to go on forever.