My first Digital Marketing Bark – James Newbill

This is my first post so be gentle! Regardless, this subject is a great one. It speaks to the changing world of marketingwhitedoghead online and how Social Media is changing just how we think about old school marketing. I think it is a solid first start…tell me what you think?

I was at the Silverpop Customer Conference (ESP – Email Service Provider) a couple of days ago and the CEO Bill Nussey summed up what I consider to be the modern definition of brand in just a few sentences. Trust me, I was quick to paraphrase it in 140 letters and tweeted (in Twitter) it to the masses. Here it is:

“Today, a co.(company’s) Brand is established by collective opinions and not old school push media. Engagement is the cornerstone of future mktg.”

Old school TV, Radio, Print marketing is centered around one way communications in a world that now is relying on two way peer influence. Then I read a blog post from Dan McCarthy, the CEO of Network  Communications Inc, that further strengthened my opinion. Incidentally, NCI is the parent company of print and online publications like The Real Estate Book, Apartmentfinder, Unique Homes, and 20 other variaous brands. The title of the blog was Century 21 shifts its marketing focus to social media to re-enter the conversation.

“Century 21 recently launched a Communities feature on its web site that is the hub of their social media strategy.We developed C21 Communities with the goal of opening up an online conversation with the consumer,” said Thorne.  “Just as CENTURY 21 was the first national real estate franchise to advertise on television, we will continue to take a leadership position as we expand our capabilities in the social media space.”

Established brands are desperately trying to connect with prospects and customers in order to make good on their projected image. Take a look at Ad Age’s The Top Slogans of the Decade. After all, aren’t they just micro statements of what image a company is trying to push?

  1. Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
  2. Just do it (Nike)   diamond are foreverNike_Nike_474b305000c50
  3. The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
  4. Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
  5. We try harder (Avis)
  6. Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
  7. Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
  8. Does she … or doesn’t she? (Clairol)
  9. When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
  10. Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)

What happens if you are a brand that has little awareness or if new to the market place? Now you have an incredible opportunity to let the public create a customized image based on participation and awareness.  Social media creates a unique opportunity to let the masses establish an image by engagement at relatively little cost Consider the shear number of users on Twitter and Facebook. According to Mashable, Compete’s numbers for April show that Facebook has grown from 91,000,000 to 104,000,000 unique visitors, a healthy 14.35% increase from March. Twitter’s number of unique visitors has grown from 14,000,000 to 19,000,000, which is 38,56% growth.

Now take it to the next level. I believe that if you are a company that has a perceived high risk product and low brand awareness then social media can play a pivotal role in establishing the trust needed to influence behavior. Gord Hotchkiss summarizes it best in his blog about Satisficing, Bounded Rationality and Search. Take a look:

If risk is high and brand identification is low (buying software for the company), there is a high likelihood that search will be used extensively. If risk is low and brand identification is high (i.e. buying a soft drink or a beer) there is almost no likelihood that search will be used. In this case, the two factors usually work inversely to each other. Emotional enjoyment isn’t as directly tied to search activity. We will do as much (or as little) searching for a purchase that will give us great enjoyment as for those that won’t.

Whether it is home sales, apartment leasing, or even home design and improvement, people connect with the end product first and the resource a distant second. After all, these purchases are high risk decisions that require establishing a considerable amount of trust to promote action.

The way thought about tradition branding is changing.

The way you thought about traditional branding is dramatically changing with the advent of social media.

Arguably, some people say that marketing is just a sales job that just focuses on mass media influencing the sale by indirect or direct positioning. After all, both professions use the same techniques to try and get a sale. Consider a sales persons cycle: Find the right prospect, establish rapport, ask for the sale, overcome the objections, and then close.

Similarly, in marketing we establish the establish rapport (trust) based on how we construct the message to a highly profiled prospective audience. Then we address potential objections by reinforcing our message with copy and creative to attempt to connect to an emotion. The better the rapport (trust tied to established brand) the easier it is to ask for the sale. After all, establishing a rapport helps a consumer identify with the brand and encourages a behavior that they are actively participating in.

With the introduction of Social media, it is finally giving traditional marketers the ability to become front line sales people that can react based on the direct and indirect communication surrounding the transaction. We now have the ability to listen and then customize the message to help the prospect feel good about making a decision.

High risk – low brand association marketing becomes more about facilitation of comfort with the product purchase and less about the parent brand image. Information and engagement connects the buyer with the brand of their choice based on personal empowerment by participation (individual home, apartment, home improvement) and is supported by the ability of the media resource to build trust by peer influence and unbiased and unfettered access to information that promote individual choice.

Embracing social media and fully incorporating it in the site architecture critical to the facilitation of this personal branding. It is especially critical when it comes to commoditized web sites like aggregators of data or information.

Today as marketers we need to completely rewire our way of thinking. The days of push media is quickly loosing the weight that it has been used to and we need to become sales people again in which we garner sales through listening again. [polldaddy poll=1607012]