(Graham Brown mobileYouth) If you want to sell technology, stop trying to “have a conversation” with your customers

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“If you could only take one electronic device on to a deserted island, what would it be?” …

“If you could only take one electronic device on to a deserted island, what would it be?”

It was the kind of question any handset manufacturer would commissioned its social media agency to ask its fans on Facebook.

Except, this was Samsung, and its “fans” didn’t care less.

Brands can’t get enough of the “have a conversation with the customers” thing these days.

But does it work?

More in: Technology
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  • 1. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org If you want to sell technology, stop trying to "have a conversation" with your customers STOP TRYING TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS “If you could only take one electronic device on to a deserted island, what would it be?” 1 / 6
  • 2. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org It was the kind of question any handset manufacturer would commissioned its social media agency to ask its fans on Facebook. Except, this was Samsung, and its “fans” didn’t care less. Brands can’t get enough of the “have a conversation with the customers” thing these days. But does it work? More From Graham Brown's Series on How to Sell Technology Change Your Metaphors: How great leaders sell technology These 2 Social Experiments Show How Stories Sell Technology Why you need to become a Farmer not a Hunter to sell technology Technology Companies need to Embrace the Unofficial or Die Why People Buy Technology: Social Proof Despite the participants having liked the Samsung Facebook page, few actually wanted to take a Samsung to the desert island. Arch rivals iphone and iPad featured heavily with a significant mentioning of the old school favorite the Nokia 1100. Some smart-ass even posted: "ummm did anyone check to see if there was even cell service on those island? duh... how stupid can the marketing dept get!!!! shame shame shame." Poster Armin Seltz summed up the futility of the Facebook thread: "In the last 5,000 comments iphone was mentioned 3,637 times. "Samsung": 473, "Galaxy": 378, "iPad" 324. 2 / 6
  • 3. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org Even the Nokia 3310 gets 112. What a FAIL :D." BIG IDEAS DON’T SELL TECHNOLOGY ANYMORE Samsung is no different to many big brands today. They grew up in an era when advertising was dominant, when creative agencies could wave their magic wands and have us talking about the brands in the schoolyards and campuses the next day. When the MTV generation gave way to the internet, big brands couldn’t let go of the advertising model. Back in the era of the Pepsi Generation, brands started asking agencies to help them “be part of the conversation” and agencies dutifully complied with the promise of viral campaigns and social media marketing that would help the brand find its place in backrooms, bedrooms and dormrooms across the country. Big brands still want to manage the conversation because they still think we're back in 1989. Amazing as ads like these were, they are of a different era. Creative directors and marketing managers need to get over this nostalgia and look at the raw facts - people aren't interested in conversations with or about brands anymore. In fact, they don't want you to have conversations with your friends, but rather conversations with the brand. They want you to talk about The Big Idea, their Big Mac and measure it with Big Data. 3 / 6
  • 4. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org BIG brands can work with only one monolithic version of cool because they have so much tied up into their Big Idea. They come from an era of limited shelf space and scarcity. It worked for Tony the Tiger and The Pepsi Generation so why doesn’t work for Samsung and friends today? LOUDSPEAKER VS TELEPHONE MODEL OF SELLING TECHNOLOGY Loudspeaker Telephone Narrative Tell the official brand story Fans tell their own unofficial stories Model Centralized. Top-down. Monolithic De-centralized. Bottom-up. Pluralistic Distribution Broadcast: one-to-one or one-to-many Peer-to-peer: many-to- many How it works Tell 'em you're cool, Tell 'em in a BIG way, keep telling 'em Give the Fans the tools to help tell their story Economics Based on shortage of shelf space and an abundance of attention Based on shortage of attention and an abundance of shelf space 4 / 6
  • 5. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org Tactics Paid media: "Have a conversation with customers", campaigns, PR, celebrity endorsement, The Big Idea Earned media: Help customers have a conversation with each other, grass roots movements Metrics Top of mind, recall, market share, awareness, brand equity Recommendation, Net Promoter Score, Earned Media Indexes CONNECT NOT CONTROL THE DOTS Marketing today isn’t a creative masterpiece beyond the conception of mortal men - it’s simple conversations that happen between everyday people. The Big Idea, like the ego that propels it, has no place in the era of many-to-many conversations. Metaphors are a powerful tool to shape how we view and sell technology. The Big Idea may just be a broken metaphor in the digital era. So what role should tech companies play today if it's not about creating The Big Idea? When parents allow their teenage daughter to hold a party for her friends in the house, the last thing those friends want to see is said parents singing karaoke all night. Sure you can add serious value by helping people connect with each other but don’t try to impose your brand story on their conversations. 5 / 6
  • 6. mobileYouth® - youth marketing and mobile culture analysis of the latest research, insights and trends by Graham D Brown http://www.mobileyouth.org "Kellogg" brand "candle stick" style telephone from c. early 20th century. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) People don’t want a conversation with your brand, they want a conversation with each other. Customers don’t pick up the phone to speak to or send a text message to the phone company; they do it to talk to each other. But that doesn’t make the phone company worthless by not being part of the conversation. The phone company plays a vital role in facilitating this conversation; without it, the conversation wouldn’t happen. Powered by TCPDF (www.tcpdf.org) 6 / 6