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Marketing Isn’t Easy

May 27, 2011

It’s not easy being in marketing these days. Never mind the constant need to reinvent yourself and stay on top of trends, and the inherent fact that when you harass people for a living it’s easy to be disliked. The rise in social media has meant that decisions which would once seem basic can now be questioned, reversed and leave you with egg on your face in just a few hours timespan.

Enter stage right the marketing employee from Comcast who recently made the decision to pull $18,000 in funding from the organization “Real Grrls” after they questioned Comcast’s hiring of Meredith Attwell Baker, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission who made a high profile merger decision in Comcast’s favor.

Now, I know in a David versus Goliath story it’s never popular to take the side of Goliath, but you’ll just have to forgive me here. Laying aside the fact that I refuse to take any organization (nonprofit, gearing for youth or otherwise) seriously who uses “OMG” in their communications, Comcast has every right to select who they choose to fund. And given Reel Grrls pursuit of “#mediajustice” I’m shocked they wanted the money (in an update, they refused the cash once it was reinstated – belive me they made way more donations from the media coverage than they were getting from Comcast).

Enter poor, hapless spokesman who saw the tweet, contacted the Reel Grrls and told them Comcast was pulling their donation. In an age before the Internet that probably would have been it. But an organization called Reel Grrls isn’t going to lack for media savvy and pulled out their social media arsenal to fire back at Comcast. Another Comcast Vice President then apologized and promised to return the funding.

Reel Grrls had already been critical of Comcast’s NBC merger (as were a lot of other people), and that’s certainly their right. But I do feel that organizations should be able to donate money where they chose and shouldn’t face a media firestorm for pulling money from an organization who publicly criticizes them. That’s why it’s called a donation – freely given, to an organization the company supports. A donation isn’t buying any loyalty, and an organization or company shouldn’t expect it. But they should also have the right to pull funding from organizations who seem to quite publicly disagree with them without it causing a media firestorm.

No one said marketing would be easy. Expecially not in the digital age.

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