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Research

Social Media Strategy

26% of Marketers Care About Understanding Consumers

June 30, 2008

Get ready – this is going to blow your mind.  I ran across a blog entry by Ted Mininni on MarketingProfs this morning that references a recent survey of senior Marketing execs and it had some stunning findings.  Seriously, I can’t believe what I read.  Here are the 3 most shocking statistics from the article:

  1. 6% of respondents felt that their “go to market” capabilities were “very good.”
  2. Only 26% reported making inroads in better understanding their consumer targets was a priority.
  3. Only 14% cited retail and service execution was a priority.

Ummm, are you serious???  6% are confident in their go-to-market capabilities, while only a fourth of the respondents want to understand their customers better?  Really?  What year is this?  No wonder we still see companies blowing money on traditional advertising and marketing while retreating in fear when emerging media is discussed.  One thing’s for sure – if you don’t want to understand your customers, then you DEFINITELY don’t want to engage in Social Media!  How in the world can this NOT be a TOP priority?  I’m struggling with this one.

Equally as disturbing is the incredibly low 14% who said that retail and service execution was a priority.  What are these people smoking?  Hopefully it’s one of those things where ‘somebody else is worrying about that’ and these critical factors are not truly being ignored.  Either way, for marketers to thumb their noses at the customers and customer experience is nothing short of shocking!

This reeks of old school mentality where companies would put out a product or service and expect people to flock to it because they said so in their advertising.  Well, guess what?  That doesn’t fly anymore!  Smart marketers know this and take the time to understand their marketplace before throwing something out there that might not make sense.  Companies would be wise to invest some of their budgets in getting to know the consumer market and developing a solid strategy before going to market with a product or service.  But, isn’t this Marketing 101?  Maybe these execs need to audit that course every once in a while.

Social Media Strategy

Target

November 27, 2006

Besides being a really cool store, Target is a word that should be posted on a sticky note on top of every marketers computer screen so that it’s always top of mind.  It surprises me how often I run across promotions that are so broad, or worse yet, totally misdirected that it’s almost unfathomable how they could be very effective.

Thanks to technology and the seemingly endless resources to slice and dice demographic and psychograpic data, there is really no excuse for untargeted Marketing (particularly in the online world).  The catch is that in order to properly target your message, you have to understand who you are talking to in the first place.  This sounds obvious enough, but you don’t have to look very far to find examples of untargeted messaging gone awry.  This usually happens when a decision maker ‘thinks he or she knows.’  It’s one thing to know that you don’t know and ask for help, but when you think you know but don’t, you are in jeopardy!

Of course, this is more pronounced in the Youth segment.  Since most marketers are well outside of this demographic, it is even more important to do some serious homework on what is going on in the minds of these consumers.  Pardon my frankness, but Youth can smell bullshit a mile away.  Over the years, I’ve seen some pretty weak attempts to be ‘cool’ and often it turns out looking like a joke to the people it was intended to win over.  Bad execution can be worse than doing nothing at all, so pay attention and don’t be afraid to ‘not know.’

Use the resources that are available to you!  If your product or service offering crosses over multiple demographic groups and lifestyles, take a more focused approach to each segment.  Check out Pepsi’s approach on their home page.  Notice they don’t ask you a million questions or make you dig through a bunch of pages to get into a zone that you feel comfortable.  They have a few people representing different lifestyles that rotate through the screen.  Depending on which character resonates with you, you can click on the pictures and the site takes you to different promotions that the brand is actively engaged in.  Nice!  One click, and you are escorted into an area that makes sense to you.

Consider creating microsites that speak to the different segments that your product or service is aimed at using language and tone that the each segment will understand and respect.  Use targeted advertising to drive your consumers to the right place.  Don’t rely on your home page, especially if your offering is so general that you have a home page that doesn’t really speak to any specific vertical very well.

Slice and dice!  Get engaged and see how much better your results can be.  It’s addictive once you get started.

Social Media Strategy

Help them help themselves

November 9, 2006

I was reading an article the other day on the debt that our youth (college students in particular) are growing up with, and it made me think about the fact that youth today expect more out of life than previous generations.  They have grown up with a sense of entitlement, and this has translated into huge amounts of debt for the average college student.  That got me thinking about how important it is to not only make things easy for customers, but also to provide added value in the experience itself.

More and more, the niceties of a user’s experience are now expected, so we must continue to reinvent and reinvest in order to keep our customers coming back.  Resting on our laurels is not an option, and customers will move on as soon as something else perceived as better or cooler comes along.  Anyone who has doubts should revisit the Friendster and MySpace phenomenon.  MySpace built a better mouse trap and blew past the established market leader with lightning speed.  But, I digress.

The key is to stay out in front and consistently provide more and better services without getting behind the competition.  Once you are playing defense, it’s harder to climb back on top.  Part of this requires some dedication to good old fashioned Research and Development.  There is no question that research is one of a Marketer’s most valuable resources, so it should be kept top-of-mind when decisions on budget and resource allocation are considered.

Get inside the minds of your target consumers and think of ways to help them help themselves.  Show them that you are thinking about them and they are more likely to respond by being loyal.  The alternative is frightening to say the least.

Social Media Strategy

How many marketers really ‘get’ MySpace?

September 29, 2006

It occurs to me that MySpace is still an enigma to most marketers.  Sure, everyone knows that there are a bazillion people in the network, but how many people know how to use it effectively?

Talk about a wide open field – MySpace is perhaps the biggest resource for social anthropology that exists on earth, at least for the youth market, and it’s free to use!  What makes this such a unique treasure trove is that everyone on it freely volunteers a detailed window into their minds.  But how do you capitalize on it?  There’s always the ‘easy’ way with standard advertising, but is this the most cost-effective?  I suspect not.

This morning, I saw a clever use of product placement/ad that was tacked onto the end of a video, which was distributed via a MySpace bulletin.  This particular clip was so well done that it almost seemed like an extension of the video itself!  The product didn’t beat me over the head or make me wait to see the video that I was there to see.  Instead, they made the message so relevant that I was engaged enough to watch it through to the end without losing interest.  How many brands can say that about their interruptive advertising?

There are endless ways to use MySpace to spread the word about your brand, but you have to really work it!  Get creative.  Think about how your target is using the site and get in the game!  You’d be surprised how level the playing field is in this medium.

Social Media Strategy

How many marketers really 'get' MySpace?

September 29, 2006

It occurs to me that MySpace is still an enigma to most marketers.  Sure, everyone knows that there are a bazillion people in the network, but how many people know how to use it effectively?

Talk about a wide open field – MySpace is perhaps the biggest resource for social anthropology that exists on earth, at least for the youth market, and it’s free to use!  What makes this such a unique treasure trove is that everyone on it freely volunteers a detailed window into their minds.  But how do you capitalize on it?  There’s always the ‘easy’ way with standard advertising, but is this the most cost-effective?  I suspect not.

This morning, I saw a clever use of product placement/ad that was tacked onto the end of a video, which was distributed via a MySpace bulletin.  This particular clip was so well done that it almost seemed like an extension of the video itself!  The product didn’t beat me over the head or make me wait to see the video that I was there to see.  Instead, they made the message so relevant that I was engaged enough to watch it through to the end without losing interest.  How many brands can say that about their interruptive advertising?

There are endless ways to use MySpace to spread the word about your brand, but you have to really work it!  Get creative.  Think about how your target is using the site and get in the game!  You’d be surprised how level the playing field is in this medium.