Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix: A case for social media marketing in a recession


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  • Very simple elegant introduction to social media marketing. I would recommend to traditional marketing professionals
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Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix: A case for social media marketing in a recession

  1. 1. Social Media Marketing: Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix
  2. 2. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Intro—A Case for Social Media Marketing in a Recession If history has taught us anything, it’s that when the economy suffers, so do our marketing budgets. A recent survey of marketing professionals conducted on behalf of PRWeek and Manning Selvage & Lee by research firm Millward Brown indicates that 68 percent of marketers expect their advertising budgets to stay the same or decrease in the coming year. However, 75 percent of those same marketers say they expect to spend more money on digital marketing programs.1 More evidence social media marketing will thrive: Marketing services firm Epsilon in August released a survey that revealed 59 percent of senior marketing executives expect to decrease their traditional marketing budgets, while 63 percent plan to increase the budget for interactive and digital marketing programs.2 Finally, Forrester Research noted earlier this year that e-mail marketing would likely increase during a recession, while advertising dollars would flow toward trackable online media, such as search marketing programs. More interesting still is Forrester’s assertion that interactive social applications such as communities, social networking sites and word-of-mouth marketing prove worthwhile because they depend not on a diminishing ad budget, but on an abundant resource: your customers.3 Enthusiastic customers telling others about your product is a more effective medium than any of the traditional media. They have the ability to motivate consumers in the consideration phase of purchase, which, in times of recession, is more cost-effective than the shotgun approach applied by most traditional forms of advertising. Whether the United States is headed toward, or already deeply embroiled in, a recession, one thing seems clear: interactive and digital marketing—social media marketing strategies in particular—will play a part in how your brand survives and thrives. This report describes how you can leverage social media such as blogs, forums, ratings and social networking media to improve your marketing and build better customer relationships, regardless of the economy. Sources (1) PRWeek and Manning Selvage & Lee Survey, July 2008 (2) Epsilon CMO Survey, August 2008 (3) Forrester Research, Strategies for Interactive Marketing In A Recession, February 2008 2
  3. 3. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Leverage “Points of Enthusiasm” At its heart, social media provides the opportunity for people to engage: with each Takeaw ay Tip other, with a brand or with a topic of interest. It’s that interest that drives success in social media marketing. Photography blogs engage people who are passionate about 3 Find what excites your photography; cycling forums engage people who love to ride their bikes. The long tail customers and then of the Internet dictates that no matter how obscure your brand or product is, there’s a build your community group of individuals who care deeply about it. around that “point of enthusiasm.” But that doesn’t mean these people are going to flock to your new discussion forum just because you create one. When CVS Pharmacy launched a user-generated content site in early 2008, its focus wasn’t on pharmaceuticals and the things customers see when they walk through a store. The passion for CVS customers isn’t based on what they buy, but rather, how what they buy allows them to care for others. Their micro site,, focused on the shared experience of caring. keeps the message on the homepage simple: “We know it’s in your nature to care. Now we’d like to hear your story. Submit it here and be an inspiration to others just like you.” As part of an ongoing contest, users can submit stories of caring, vote on their favorite stories, and forward stories to friends. Earlier this year, the stories were voted on by a panel of judges and prizes were awarded to 10 submissions. The contest began again in October 2008. CVS decided to make themselves a focal point for issues they knew their customers faced and host that dialogue as part of a bigger marketing initiative. With support from television and print ads, has attracted thousands of submissions since its inception, and thousands more view the site each month. 3
  4. 4. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Humanize Your Brand With Blogs If the word’s ubiquitous use among the news media hasn’t hammered it home yet, here’s the bulletin: Your brand needs a blog. A recent report on MSNBC noted than only about 60 Fortune 500 companies have active blogs, but those leading the way include Dell, Southwest Airlines and Coca-Cola. With such a small percentage of corporate blogs active today, there are enormous opportunities for companies at the front of this groundswell. Take for example Marriott International. In January 2007, Bill Marriott, the then 74-year-old chairman and CEO of the international hotel chain, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the business his parents built by opening his 3,000th hotel and starting the company’s first blog. In his inaugural post he admitted to not being very good with computers, but stated the following: “I believe in communicating with the customer, and the Internet gives me a whole new way of doing that on a global scale. I’d rather engage directly in dialogue with you because that’s how we learn and grow as a company.” Marriott blogs on topics about which he is passionate, including the hotel’s history as a family business, current events, the travel industry and politics. That passion reminds people that Marriott is in fact a real person—a human face behind the brand. Marriott routinely responds to individual comments on the blog as well, whether readers offer suggestions or complaints about service they’ve received. 4
  5. 5. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix The blog has yielded tremendous dividends, with individual posts routinely receiving Takeaw ay Tip hundreds of comments and bookings directly from the blog totaling $4 million in incremental revenue since its inception, according to Marriott. Mr. Marriott commented 3 Build a blog that on this himself in his own blog as well as on MSNBC. emphasizes the human side of Another opportunity afforded by the blog is the ability to respond immediately to events your business. that impact the brand. Only a few hours after the bombing of a Marriott property in Islamabad, Pakistan, Mr. Marriott was able to provide up-to-the-minute information 3 Business doesn’t about the incident on his blog. Subsequent posts offered Marriott’s personal thoughts operate in a vacuum, on the tragedy, and the announcement of a fund established to help those affected by and neither should the incident. your blog. Use your blog to respond to A blog can represent the corporate voice in its purest form, in this case the voice of one relevant events in the man who is committed to communicating in an unfiltered way with his customers. world around you. 5
  6. 6. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Don’t Just Start a Conversation, Join a Conversation Don’t just open the door and start talking. If you start blogging on a certain topic, start Takeaw ay Tip participating on the blogs or forums of other organizations that discuss that topic. Leave insightful comments on other sites, and refer to your own site. 3 To drive traffic to your own site, leave The trick is to do it in a sincere way. If you leave a comment with nothing more than the comments in other URL to your own site, it’s obvious you’re just trying to seed links to your site and you relevant communities won’t be perceived as an authentic source of information. But if you can honestly highlighting your engage in someone else’s forum, then be part of that conversation and invite people expertise and back to your house. authenticity. 6
  7. 7. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Make Participation Easy Often the simplest way to get people to join a conversation is to ask for their Takeaw ay Tip participation. For example, McDonald’s Corp. fostered its nascent corporate social network by allowing employees and owner-operators to turn registration for a 3 If you want customers company-wide conference into profiles on the network. or employees to join your online community, Employees were able to supply information that would make it effortless for them to ask them, but make find each other on the network, and when asked at the conclusion of the registration the barrier to process whether they’d like to submit a best practice from their experience to be participation low. featured on the site, hundreds of people responded. McDonald’s not only expanded buy-in for the network, but the company instantly added a wealth of user-generated 3 Give context to the content to the site. content. When you learn more about the author, you learn more about the content. Grouping content by social attributes garnered by user profiles gives context to that information. As an added bonus, since the best practices are tied to user profiles, all the content is given immediate context. The profiles are built around information to help users understand the context of that person at McDonald’s. Are you a restaurant owner/operator? How long have you been with McDonald’s? What part of the country or the world are you from? If a user gives advice on how to motivate front-line employees, other participants can tell from that user’s profile whether the advice comes from relevant experience. 7
  8. 8. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix Shine a Spotlight on Great User-Generated Content When users on your site have a great conversation or talk up your brand, show off a little. Takeaw ay Tip Since people made those comments in a public forum, you’re free to use those comments any way you want. Use them as quotes in your direct mail or e-mail campaigns. And even 3 Great content shouldn’t though the social media part of your site might come off as a separate community, it be wasted. Leverage should be a part of your main Web site. Feature links to great posts prominently user-generated content throughout your Web site. If your social media platform allows it, inject community throughout your content onto your Web pages by relevance. If a customer mentions a product in a post marketing campaigns, on your community, that content should be visible on that product’s page. online and off. Consider including links to the most active discussions, the most recent posts, or new discussion topics on your homepage to draw people a little deeper into the conversation occurring on your site. 8
  9. 9. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix The Ladder of Participation So you’ve got your blog, but it feels like you’re talking to a void. Two or three comments Takeaw ay Tip pop up on each post, but otherwise, it seems like engagement is low. The reality is the majority of people visiting your blog are just going to read. Commenting on a post 3 Don’t give up. Building requires a certain level of participation that some readers aren’t comfortable with. an audience takes time. That’s why it’s imperative to give your users multiple ways to participate. It might be that 3 Engaging in multiple there are users on your site who are more than willing to write a full-blown wiki entry on social media marketing how to use your products, but that requires a high level of commitment. A slightly smaller tactics will reach a level of commitment is posting a photo of themselves enjoying your products. Smaller still much broader audience is the commitment to comment on some of the existing articles or blogs on your Web than one tactic alone. site. And one of the lowest rungs on the participation ladder is clicking a vote button and rating a particular post or product as valuable or not. Each one of those communication opportunities requires a different level of engagement, and each will appeal to different levels of users. But if you have only one option, such as writing original content, you could be shortchanging a whole subset of users who are more than willing to participate on a lesser level. But it’s important not to give up when it seems like participation is low. Write content you believe is relevant to people, and you’ll continue to get picked up by search engines when surfers look for that content. But don’t panic if you don’t see lots of comments. People will still be reading, and reading is the first rung on the participation ladder. Most social media tools will report statistics on how often your blog is read. So take comfort that people are reading it, even if they aren’t responding vocally at first. Everyone comes in at his or her own natural participation level, and ideally you’re able to move them up the participation ladder by engaging them in the way they’re comfortable. Multiple mechanisms for user contribution will help different people become active in your community. Conclusion Marketing in an economic downturn requires creative thinking and while experimental media often can get cut during tough times, social media can drive traffic to your brand’s Web site through the power of your customers’ enthusiasm. Find ways to leverage that enthusiasm, and your customers will spread the good word about your brand when your ad budget isn’t going to get the job done. 9
  10. 10. Integrating Social Media in Your Marketing Mix What is Social Media Marketing? Social media marketing is making a profound Social Media Marketing Social Media impact on marketing strategies for organizations • Multi-way (brand <—> customer, Marketing customer <—> customer) of all sizes. It is augmenting, enhancing, and in • Participatory Customer some companies, replacing old forms of and • User-generated Engagement dramatic ways. For example, traditional marketing, such as direct and brand marketing, is one-way, push-oriented Traditional Marketing and interrupt-driven. These types of marketing Direct Brand • One-way (brand to customer) activities are from company to prospect. The • Push and interrupt Marketing Marketing prospect doesn’t ask for them. They are “pushed” • Brand-generated Lead Image and Generation Reputation onto the buyer, interrupting them from whatever they’re doing. They’re also brand-generated. The content comes entirely from the brand to the customer. Social media marketing, on the other hand, is defined by a new set of characteristics. • It’s a multi-way dialog. Brands talk to customers, customers talk to brands, and—perhaps most importantly— customers talk to each other. This is a new type of engagement that was never possible until the arrival of Web 2.0. • It’s participatory. Social media marketing depends on user participation—that's what makes it social. To truly be social media marketing, your users must participate. • It’s user-generated. Most of the content and connections in an online community are created by the users—not by the brand. Sure, there will be content and conversations that are brand- generated, but they will be the minority. The goal is to get your users to talk. Contact Information: About Awareness Awareness, Inc. Awareness helps companies build and operate branded Web 2.0 communities. These online 880 Winter Street, Suite 300 communities let customers, prospects, employees and partners connect with each other and Waltham, MA 02451 share content. At the core of the Awareness solution is an on-demand social media platform that combines the full range of Web 2.0 technologies—blogs, wikis, discussion groups, social United States networking, podcasts, RSS, tagging, photos, videos, mapping, etc.—with security, control and Tel: 1 866 487 5623 content moderation. Awareness builds these features into complete communities for companies, Fax: 1 781 622 2378 or customers use the Awareness API and widgets to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into their own web properties. Major corporations such as McDonald’s, Kodak, the New York Times Awareness Canada Company, Northwestern Mutual and Procter & Gamble use Awareness to build brand loyalty, generate revenue, and drive new forms of marketing. Find out more at 5050 South Service Road, Suite 100 Burlington, ON L7L 5Y7 Canada Tel: 1 866 487 5623 Fax: 1 905 632 4922 © 2008 AWARENESS, INC.