News flash: user-generated content is dumb!

I was catching up on my blog reading last night when I stumbled upon this comment by Ron Shevlin on his Marketing ROI: Whims from Ron Shevlin blog.

"I think UGC (user-generated content) is dumb. (nothing like burying THAT statement in a comment where hopefully nobody sees it)"

Well Ron, I saw it and it stopped me in my tracks. I am compelled to comment.

Ron had an excellent discussion on "Hiding behind the veil of experimentation" that you should read before going further. As usual, Ron has given a clear and well-argued point of view.

I read Ron's blog regularly and tend to agree with each post. He is a thought leader in the marketing return on investment space and, trust me, his brain is at least 230% bigger than mine. I agree that companies should not be hiding behind experimentation for experimentation sake. I agree that every marketing initiative deserves measurement.

What I took exception to is the blanket statement deep in the comments that user-generated content is dumb. 

I believe that a brand is no longer something that can be controlled from behind the marketing and public relations desk. I believe that successful brands in today's over-saturated marketplace have to engage with the audience in new and meaningful ways that create two-way dialogue.

User-generated content is not just people submitting goofy videos, personalizing a company jingle or amateurs producing a Doritos Superbowl Ad. As defined by the user-generated content kings at Wikipedia, user-generated content refers to various kinds of media content, publicly available that are produced by end-users. User-generated content is a two-way conversation. The comments on this and every other blog are examples of user-generated content.

I spend the lion's share of my time thinking about how to differentiate credit unions and I believe that credit unions need to work harder to engage members and potential members. We need to go beyond the safety of traditional advertising and get out of the statement-stuffer mentality of the past.

To say user-generated content is dumb is to ignore the crashing reality of Web 2.0 and the rise of social networking as the primary use of the web.

I don't think user-generated content is dumb. How about you? 

UPDATE: Due to Ron's comment clarifying that he meant user-generated advertising and not just user-generated-content, I have adjusted the poll to read user-generated advertising instead. As Ron was the first to arrive at the scene of the crime, there were no votes cast. Sorry Ron, at least I am helping your Technorati ranking!



P.S. Hey Ron, you asked the Credit Union Warrior what it took to get featured on our blog. I guess you figured it out. I will agree that a great percentage of what is on YouTube could be considered dumb!

Should we be so quick to discount user-generated advertising?

Does your credit union have a CU Warrior in the making?