Social Marketing - it's winning, almost.
It's about time some of the big investors in marketing and advertising asked themselves the most effective way to communicate with their audience.
Is it better to have a conversation than push something in my face? Damn right it is.
But that has been the predominant way of promoting products.
Enter social networks and ways of creating conversations online (comments on forums, blogs, newspapers...). All of a sudden companies have the opportunity to engage with their consumer, their precious customer.
Now here is a radical thought - instead of spending vast amounts on advertising budgets how about spending that same money on customer care personnel? Getting those staff to build up personal relationships with the customer, making them feel wanted, cared for, looked after - like a V.I.P. And of course the best way to do that is using social tools, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and a Blog for instance.
In my experience the majority of companies that are using those social sites are effectively putting website copy on a new page and calling it a blog or a social tool - BOLLOCKS. These tools exist to create a conversation not somewhere else to push your limp product!
If you chose to invest in staff instead of advertising you would soon see that those precious customers would rave about you to all of their friends and start marketing you without much effort on your behalf. There is additional investment required in your sites and blogs to accommodate certain social tools to assist in the process but largely investing in people and company product (giveaways, incentives...) are largely all that's required.
This arguement falls flat if you are a major brand like Obama or Coca-Cola; an arguement for another day; and I will concede that TV advertising is still a worthy investment when targetted correctly; however... please please please, if you are using Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and especially a Blog learn how to use it, don't just put stuff up and hope for the best - 'building it and they will come' just does not work in social media!
PS. The image is courtesy of GAP who have just scrapped their TV advertising for a social media campaign.