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Social Media Strategy

Is Being Unreasonable A Good Strategy?

November 30, 2009

UnreasonableI was talking with a good friend last night about ‘the state of things.’  We tend to veer off into lofty conversations on issues that matter to us, and it’s often quite productive for me.  Last night was one of those nights.  While we talked, I remembered a program I ran across called the Unreasonable Institute – they are looking for 25 of the world’s most outrageous minds to encourage and enable to do great things.  The question that came to mind was – do we have to create things that are ‘unreasonable’ to get noticed or attract attention?  Has the status quo stifled our thinking to the point that we have to go far outside the norm to capture the imagination of our audience? I suspect this might indeed be the case.

It seems more and more non-traditional thinking is breaking through in all segments of society – in business, in government, in development, etc.  The fact that this is being celebrated is encouraging and reinforces that we’re actually in a very transformative period right now.

Last night as we talked about some of the opportunities on the horizon, I shared that I recently read a book my cousin Whitney gave me to check out called The City in 2050 published by the Urban Land Institute.  Pretty incredible stuff here – I highly recommend you read it if you are interested in urban planning, architecture, future development and related topics.  The book highlights some very thought provoking insights into a likely urban model for the future.

While we were talking, I Googled the initiative on my iPhone and jumped over to the ‘2050’ page to see how well they were connecting.  What I saw was an incredible opportunity to spread this message much further than it’s being spread right now.  The opportunity that jumped out at me was under the ‘Enter the Dialogue’ section.  If you click on the Creating Blueprints – Enter the dialogue link, it takes you to a page with a paragraph and an email address.  Most of us in the social media space would agree that an email link does not typically qualify for encouraging dialogue, thus the opportunity!  To be fair, ULI does have general links to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn from their home page.

Perhaps identifying initiatives like this one that are well established but lack a thorough engagement strategy and helping them connect with key audiences through social channels is a business model in and of itself.  Could working with ULI and other non-profits to help spread the word about initiatives that matter to the world without a pure profit motive be considered unreasonable?  I bet most people would say it is.  I wonder what the Unreasonable Institute would say?

What do you think?  Is being unreasonable a good strategy?  If so, what are some of the unreasonable ideas that you have for yourself or your business?  Do you find this kind of thinking is encouraged or discouraged in your organization?

By the way, if you are interested in applying to the Unreasonable Institute, you better hurry – the clock is ticking! 14 days and counting until applications are due.

Photo credit: iStockPhoto

Social Media Strategy

Strategic Deployment of Social Media Tools

August 20, 2008

There are seemingly endless opportunities to connect with consumers online – but how do you pick where to put your resources?  It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the cool thing of the moment and bet the farm on it.  However, with the landscape changing so rapidly, that course of action can be perilous for brands.

Consider for a moment the idiosyncrasies of each network or platform that you can engage consumers on.  What works on one doesn’t necessarily work on another.  For example, many companies developed custom applications for Facebook, but when MySpace opened up their platform to applications, not everyone jumped on board.  Why?  For starters, MySpace didn’t give the applications as much leeway as Facebook did for activity based alerts.  Also, members on MySpace had fewer reasons to dive into the applications – much of the functionality that Facebook lacked in its core platform has been part of MySpace for years (think Top Friends or FunWall), and thus custom apps weren’t needed as much.  Now imagine the quirks across the vast social network landscape and it becomes clear that brands cannot just blast their message out to all of the networks and expect the members to flock to them.  Each community has to be approached differently and with sensitivity to how members are engaging on the site with their friends, not how brands want them to listen to their messages.

And of course, there is the mobile world.  What if you have developed a program that targets Blackberry customers, but now you want to copy and paste that program for the iPhone.  Is that the best approach?  Maybe, but I doubt it.  Blackberry customers are different than iPhone customers, and the devices themselves present unique opportunities.  I recently wrote a White Paper about Embracing the iPhone Phenomenon – check it out if you would like.  The White Paper speaks to a specific niche, and attempts to spark ideas on how to engage this audience in an effective way by providing value to their mobile experience while interacting with the brand.

So, what’s the bottom line?  You need a Social Media Strategy if you are going to be effective. One size does NOT fit all!  Sometimes it’s best to stick to a couple of proven tactics.  Sometimes venturing out and being on the edge will bear more fruit.  It’s OK to not know – that’s what Strategic Consultants are for.  🙂  Just think about it before you put yourself and your company out there.

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.