Social Marketing….not what you expect!

Hello all,

Well today’s rant is about social media and all the marketing hype, energy, time and money (yes, money….it’s not free) being spent on it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of connecting with customers, prospects, investors and employees, but I’m not ready to bet  the entire farm on SM….even as 2013 budget season approaches.

Why, you ask, does a marketing person question social media in the middle of the frenzy?  Here’s why.  We (my firm) have not employed any type of social media to our marketing mix and what was the result??? We’ve doubled in size during the most turbulent economic time since the 30’s. How did we accomplish this?  Product, Service, PERSONAL Relationships…that’s it.

First, if your product or service sucks….you will fail. Hands down, consumers are savvy enough to not get taken twice; and most not even once. I don’t care how many Twitter followers you have, how many Facebook likes or how high your Penguin (Google) analytic rankings; if your product stinks, so will your sales.

Next, if you rely on interactive means to communicate solely with customers, you really only have a virtual relationship at best. Maybe we’re unique in the B2B world selling expensive power systems, but I cannot sell one product without at least one (usually many) face to face interactions. I wouldn’t purchase a mission-critical component for my company without thoroughly knowing who I’m buying from. I am, and all of our sales persons are, on planes…a lot!

Finally, if you can’t back what you sell…that’s right – you fail. Again, customers want to know you have their back. If a unit of mine needs service, I send a technician right away. Not a video of how to troubleshoot your own system…a real, live person trained for the job. Sensitive? Yes, one system can produce over 250,000 amps of current. That’s enough to burn through the steel supports of the Empire State Building in less than a second. Imagine what that does to a human body. You really want your facility manager poking around in there??

The rub – So much attention is focused on connecting virtually with people that I feel that the biggest “P” (product) is being short-changed. I see 1000 articles on social media to every one about product alpha or beta testing, voice of the customer or innovation discovery. SM has a place, even in my upcoming marketing year. I’m just not ready to rely on it totally; it will be used as a tool, not the crux of my strategy!!

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About thebrandedblogger

Marketer, writer with a short attention span View all posts by thebrandedblogger

2 responses to “Social Marketing….not what you expect!

  • Joy-Fleur Brettschneider

    Hello from London!

    I totally agree with your viewpoint and I think that all what you say in relation to service provision is absolutely correct.

    However, I also think that you are being a little generic in your opinion about SM, as each business and industry sector has it’s own benefit from it (I think). Moreover I believe that exactly this is the aspect that makes SM so difficult, it’s all about getting the strategy right for your business and not just about following other people’s success stories and aiming for KPI’s that have no value for your company.

    In my opinion, even in the B2B sector SM can be a great tool to get an understanding about real-time concerns of your target audience and their customers. Obviously you get this from face-to-face meetings as well, but this is from your current customers and only covers aspects that they are willing to share with you during the meeting. SM could be covering all the rest.

    It also helps you to monitor whether anyone is talking negatively about your brand or overly well about your competitors and allows you to action upon it. SM could also be used as an additional information resource for your company, its products and for the sector you operate in. It can help to drive traffic to your website, help you in your SEO efforts and by offering educational and value-adding information you can trigger pull demand. I could go on here 😉

    Summarizing, I think that if applied correctly and integrated within the wider Marketing Strategy (which is time intense and thus a considerable cost), SM can become a very valuable tool that will help you to achieve measurable ROI and help you to gain competitive advantage.

    However, in order to get there, marketers need to understand:
    A) how to apply a SM strategy correctly for their business;
    B) how to measure valuable ROI and what data should be collected;
    C) how to analyse that newly acquired data and how to convert it into business intelligence

    Just wanted to share my thoughts about SM with you, as I am really passionate about SM (you may have noticed) and I am really excited about the new opportunities for Marketing!

    All the best,

    Joy

  • thebrandedblogger

    Hello Joy,

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes, agree we need to monitor what’s out there and particpate in the conversations! I’ll employ some SM in the strategy for 2013, mostly on the solar side of the biz.

    Speaking of solar…you attending SPI next week? If so, stop by….#3586.

    J

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