Just like real conversations, marketers need to understand what their role is - listener, one of equals, or even instigator. We tend to talk about SPARK; an acronym for the types of things marketers can do. They are:
- Stimulate - provide people with the things to talk about. Inject something valuable then step aside. "Here's an idea we've been working on, what do you think of ....?"
- Participate - join the conversation as an equal. "We think ...., what's your opinion?"
- Amplify - provide the tools to allow people to broadcast their stories and opinions loudly. "This topic is important, we'll help you talk more about it."
- Repair - sometimes we must offer the other side of a story or simply correct facts. "We chose this course because ..."
- Kindle - bring together people of like minds and interests. "Here's a place for you to discuss ..... amongst yourselves."
One might think of these as different kinds of conversation objectives; each with its own strategy for implementation.