Posts Tagged ‘Research & Strategy’

How Social Media Redefines Integrated Marketing

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Remember those days when people talked about integrated marketing? They were referring to channels and media — print, TV, radio, event, Internet and so on. By now, we’ve come of age in terms of “integrating” marketing. Marketing has become such an integrated discipline that it’s impossible to do “marketing” and “advertising” apart from technologies used by consumers on a day-to-day basis. What are these day-to-day technologies? All of the social media tools available online – one integrated channel, all for free.
 
Imagine a world of advertising and marketing purely online – no more direct mail, newspapers and magazines. The focus will be on the consumers, users and fans – they will help us popularize our brand, spread our messaging and generate more content. Sounds like a marketing utopia, doesn’t it?
 
This is all reality now, with the advent of social media. Assuming every product or service has a dedicated website (with an eCommerce engine to take customer orders), a Blog to share information and knowledge, a Facebook page to create a fan base (generate business leads), a Twitter account to cultivate followers (more business leads), a LinkedIn group to interact with industry communities (more leads and publicity for your business), a YouTube channel for its latest product or service offering (free advertising online), and a marketing/advertising powerhouse behind all these tools to push the technology envelope to its limit – I think we’ve got something pretty powerful going on here.
 
If all of the above (except for a marketing/advertising powerhouse, which takes time and talent to build up) are absolutely free for use, then why isn’t every company embracing and adopting social media? Why is there still a great deal of skepticism, myths and under-information lingering out there about the intent and power of social media tools? Let’s take on “under-information” for a moment here. How many company CEOs and business owners are taking time to read up on these tools? Yes, they may have people working for them who know something about social media, and they may even have a marketing department in the company whose main mission is to drive sales and advertising programs, but are these folks informing their C-level management about these tools with a sense of clarity and urgency? Are these folks believers of social media itself?
 

Social media tools are things you can’t simply read up on like you do about computers, cameras or refrigerators. These are interactive, creative and living technologies that grow and change with users and developers every day. One has to dive in, play with the tools, test-drive them and make them part of your life. (Live and breathe them!) Majority of these social media tools can be embedded and adapted across different sites. To integrate them into your sales/marketing/advertising strategy is NOT difficult if you are clear about the objectives and audience you’re trying to hit, come up with a strategy and implement the technologies required to fulfill your strategy. Implementation is KEY. Without integrating these tools as essential elements of your business marketing process, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the abundance of features, functions and benefits these tools have to offer.

I still think we’re coming close to a marketing utopia, if we’re not there yet…

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Moving Beyond Experimentation to Revolution: Social Media is Relevant and pervasive

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While many are converting to become social networkers and social media marketers, some folks are still twiddling their thumbs about the power and relevance of social media networks and tools, and how their business can leverage them to grow and transform. In my business, I encounter these “laggards” all the time.

TNS Cymfony, a company whose core competency is to tell brands and companies what their consumers are saying about them, recently published the Complete Guide to Build Support for, Implement and Generate Business Results from Social Media Programs. I was so excited to see that and wanted to share with everyone I know. http://www.cymfony.com/Knowledge-Center/From-Buy-In-to-Business-Results

From the evolution of digital communication (discussion groups -> email marketing-> consumer review sites-> photo-sharing-> virtual communities (Second Life) -> video sharing -> social networks), online tools like these have gradually yet rapidly enhanced consumers’ experience and influence over their peers, which have in turn influenced the popularity, marketing campaign and brand image of different products. This feedback loop is now pervasive and relevant to every line of product and service. Word of Mouth (WOM), though a relatively older term in the Web 2.0 world, has now taken on a new life form—WOM can now feed off any social media channel and kick back decisions made by major corporations if they were not going the way their consumers wanted or anticipated. The amount of insight companies can gather these days about their products over social network sites can now subvert or convert the product development plan of any major brand product company. Talk about the real power of market research and product marketing, but above all, the power of consumers and especially of consumers online.

We must embrace the advent of social media and be part of it. We’ll address the planning and development of a comprehensive social media strategy for your company on the next blog.

Photo credit to spleenboy on Flickr.com

Focus on the Job at Hand and Not the Reward

Simon Sinek is probably one of the most inspirational coaches I’ve ever encountered. He doesn’t know me personally but I sat in one of his classes at Columbia University’s Strategic Communications Program before. As always, his blog makes me pause and think. His blog on “It’s Better to be Given than to Take” reinforces the motto I’ve been trying to follow in life–be the best of yourself with whatever you do. I thank Simon for reminding me that, and I also want to thank my folks for instilling that philosophy in me early on.

Simon’s “Re:Focus” thinking has certainly influenced my marketing approach toward what I do at work every day. If you haven’t read his blog at http://sinekpartners.typepad.com/refocus/2009/04/its-better-to-be-given-than-to-take.html#comments, go check it out now.

Salute to my influencers!

Recruiters: Think like Marketers

My co-Tweeter brought my attention to this great blog on Cheezehead. Social media and online apps have transformed the way we think about business, marketing, and even recruiting. I wonder if there’s any official survey of the utilization of social media tools by recruiters. But as far as I now, many recruiters have already got swirled into the lightspeed race of finding the best candidates online. LinkedIn, Twitter and SimplyHired are just a few to name. Cheezehead’s Recruiting Starfish says it all (though the resolution of the diagram could be improved); it’s time to re-examine our job boards vs. socnet tools mix in our recruiting practice, and not any less, our strategic mix of website vs. socnet tools use in our marketing practice.
http://www.cheezhead.com/2009/04/27/one-page-guide-to-social-media-recruiting/

Marketers, check out the way Sodexho is doing it. I think they’re doing something right by being ahead of the socnet game and establishing thought leadership in their own marketplace. Is your audience looped into your latest & greatest socnet activities, or are you operating in an isolated bag of tricks? http://www.sodexousa.com/usen/careers/network/network.asp

Learning and Topicality

Agreed, hands-down, that Twitter is not JUST about making friends, but about learning, information-gathering with a sense of urgency and topicality. The timely MarketingProfs survey demos the true motivation and key drivers behind twittering and most tweeters: we’re not about random sharing, we’re all about empowering, cross-learning and current discussions.

For us Tweeties, we love what we do as marketing professionals, twittering enables us to receive, digest and distill information that can hopefully help some folks out there who’re thinking about the same issues.

http://www.marketingcharts.com/interactive/tweeters-motivated-by-learning-immediacy-8864/