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I’ve been mulling over this blog posted by a Microsoft community manager last week, which disses video contests as a marketing tool.  It’s so wrong, misinformed, and recklessly written that its almost laughable…I hesitate to give it any play, but I’m fascinated that this kind of dialogue goes on at a Microsoft social media conference?  And on a panel called “monetizing with social media?”.  By the look of the pictures there are some adults in the room, so I just don’t get it.  Back in 1997-98 the CEO and CFO of my interactive agency’s parent company used to trot me into the room when the investment bankers came by to try to value our part of the business, as if to say “see the cool kid likes it!”.  Looking  at these pics, I’m reminded of those times which I thought were largely gone…not from Redmond apparently.

Anyway, you obviously can’t compare a video contest to a Twitter contest; they are completely different programs, different objectives, value propositions and success metrics.  But the bigger point is that yes, you must actually work at making your video contest successful…you have to work to “monetize with social media”.

And the thing she really misses is that social media contests, especially video contests, are the *best* way for many brands to dip their toe into this landscape.  Contests are familiar, most marketers know what’s involved.  They will deliver results, whether those are leads, awareness, content, or something else.

Yes, there have been many video contest failures in the past couple of years, but we’re never had one…knock on wood.  Like all of your work or any program, hire a great partner, plan endlessly and execute flawlessly, and you’ll see extraordinary results and value beyond your expectations.

I agree with her on one point:  lazy does not a great contest make.

ps – I did my homework on this, talked to the brand (Fiji Tourism) and the agency that put it together…they were both great, and not thrilled with Miss Aly’s post.  The video contest was a small aspect of an integrated program, and one that was added on at the last minute in order to give a sub-contracted social media marketing agency the opportunity to prove themselves out.