Friday, 28 October 2011

Social Media: Don't run campaigns, create engagement

How is Social Media Changing Marketing Campaigns?

Having spoken to a lot of senior marketing executives of big brands in recent weeks such as BUPA, Barclaycard, 3M, Kodak, O2, Nokia, British Gas, Hiscox, INGDirect, Ford and many more, I found varying degrees of opinion as to the role that social media plays when it comes to marketing campaigns.

They invest millions each year in high profile traditional campaigns and the issue is that each campaign raises awareness or whatever, but then the awareness quickly fades away. So, onto the next campaign.  Great for marketing agencies, not so great for the brand.

One major financial services brand said that they sponsor, for example, a very high profile golfing event, create a lot of noise and it all fades away and we are left thinking, then what?
They have spent a lot of money with marketing agencies to design and run the campaign only for the ongoing consumer engagement opportunity to vapourise. Having got the attention of golfers for a short period they then let them go and yet the golfers are still playing golf.

Those few forward thinking brands, who have decided to adopt social media or commerce strategically, have got many things in common. One commonality is that they got over the idea that social media is about short term marketing campaigns and display ads. Sure, social media can augment campaigns but the strategy is to use social media to perpetuate the attention that a marketing event has created. And to link and carry over one campaign to the next.

Having got the attention of their audiences through a marketing campaign, social commerce savvy organisations are asking for potential and existing consumers for their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc user names. They are also directing them to the own online community. Then they perpetuate the awareness created by a campaign and start the process of ongoing engagement. In doing so they get a better return from their campaigns but more importantly,  ongoing online community engagement generates brand advocacy, increases word of mouth (or mouse), the chance to upsell and cross sell,  improves customer services and  customer life time value.

But only a few of the last 30 brands I have interviewed are applying social media this way such as Ford, Kodak, O2 and Nokia. Others are starting to recognise the benefits and others are still thinking of campaigns, campaigns and then another campaign. Guess who is going to win the battle of Attention and the Now Society.

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