False Transparency - They got caught red-handed for staging thier blog (Wal-Marting Across America) leaving their readers feeling cheated and lied to. The couple who was RVing across the US turned out to be a PR stunt.
Build it and They Will Come Mentality - Last summer Wal-Mart built their own social networking site for teens. Did they really think they could compete head-to-head with MySpace? With more than 3% of their traffic coming from MySpace at that time, why not optimize that relationship and go where the community already exists? Doh! After just 10-weeks the site was taken down...
Obsessed with Control
- Their recent Facebook campaign is anything but open and genuine. If you're going to leverage a social media platform like Facebook you have to be willing to open the kimono. Instead they decided to keep a lock down on comments and disabled the forum feature leaving visitors irritated and upset.
- They are now threatening their customers from posting Black Friday ad posts. Why would they go to such extremes - they should be rewarding people who want to talk about them - especially since it's not threatening to their business. Reward your customers for having a voice - don't reprimand them.
This realm of Marketing 2.0 is new for all of us and there will certainly be a trial-and-error period but I think these mistakes could have been avoided with a little research and education. I gotta give Wal-Mart credit for not giving up and at least one attempt has worked - reviews and ratings - let's just hope they can handle the negative reviews. It’s clear though that at this point, they’re not getting it. Marketing 2.0 is about enabling conversations and they don’t seem to be interested in that. Quite the opposite in fact. They’re still acting like it’s a different kind of radio.