According for the Center for Media Research and The Chief Marketing Officer Council in its latest release of industry information: "When asked what elements in the media mix were being localized to address local market segments or better drive interactions at the local level, marketers are focused on localizing strategy, segmentation and messaging (68%) and direct mail and emails (53%). However, fewer than 50% of respondents are focusing on localized media buys, social media interactions, website or even adjusting sales literature or collateral." Those targeted in the first two groups are based on an already established client base and list of potential consumers collected by businesses on the local level.
If you notice, everything related to actual Internet Marketing and Social Media Marketing is grouped into one item. To boot, there isn’t much of a budget or energy set aside to really take advantage of such powerful tools. In essence, they’re spending money on the strategy and messaging to be compelling, but not using it where it is most effective! This is when they complain that “SOCIAL” simply does not work.
A job done half mass will be a job done “half-_______ed.” Let that resonate the next time you’re involved in a marketing plan. So many put only little effort into their Social Branding and realize that it’s going nowhere. In reality, they have a stagnant Facebook Like page that only Brand Loyalists are stumbling upon and liking. Likewise, the brand’s Twitter account is doing just as well while following 500+ “tweeters” and gaining less than 50 actual followers. Their mistake is the lack of engagement. After all, what good is messaging with no conversation? If there is no interesting content to be shared or repeated, no one will share or repeat it. It’s as easy as that and nothing less to be said.
The Center for Media Research also reported that "despite 59% of national marketers noting that local demand generation was essential to their business growth, only 7% feel they have highly evolved campaigns and measures in place that can activate consumers at a local level." It’s obvious that some get it. But, it’s sadly pathetic how so many simply do not. Not to burst any bubbles, but hiring a High School Student or College Freshman isn’t enough either. There needs to be some type of strategy set in line. True, “fresh ideas” are wonderful to have on the team for ideas and content distribution. But, there has to be a strategic call to action set in line. What is the message needed to get across time and time again? What is being sold? How will we convince others to do what we want them to?
We spoke of Internet Marketing as separate from “SOCIAL” earlier. It truly is. Let’s address this now:
Internet Marketing is a broad categorization of multiple marketing channels and styles done within the world of the Internet. There, of course, are subcategories that also branch out into other realms of the marketing mix. Internet Marketing can be summed up as “content and content placement.” Words can be consumed as content. In essence, they are exactly that. Videos, pictures and audio are all the same -- content. Where and how it is placed and displayed for awareness is also part of Internet Marketing.
Some people don’t understand the scientifics behind Internet Marketing. All content is a plausible cause for SEO tactic. Defend your placement in search engines and bring awareness to your brand by naming your content, using search terms within your copy and in finding organic results. Organic results happen automatically. However, paid results are just as important. These also help your placement in search engines. Yes, it is all one large algorithm... One that must be understood.
Backlinks, link pyramids, link wheels, blogs, tags, and many other Internet Marketing elements all help a brand’s presence on the net. These are like hand grenades, gutting knives, and darts in defending against and combatting competition on the net! The littlest things can and will matter. These things MUST be implemented into Social Branding, as well as within company websites, Youtube channels and so on. There must be consistency. In fact, the Law of Consistency, as explained by authors Al and Laura Ries in “The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding,” is very important to branding as a marketing strategy on any platform -- Online or off. Don’t think for one minute that Google hasn’t been programmed to understand this.
There are many reasons why more of a budget needs to be set aside for Internet Marketing and Social Branding in separate categories. Again, hiring students to complete work for the company’s Social Presence is a great idea. But, there must also be professionals on the team getting their hands dirty if a social garden is expected to thrive. If you are going to invest a dollar into your branding, what is an extra fifty cents if it triples your return and leaves a lasting impression on your consumers? Think about it.
Speaking of consumers, let’s address them real fast. How much of a budget are you putting aside for customer relationship building and customer service? Do you have any particular way of communications with them available around the clock?
The world of media has changed the way we do business. “Always On” culture has changed the way we seek customer service and retain those customers seeking our servicing. It’s safe to assume that our business hours aren’t always convenient to our consumers who may also be working or busy with children in those hours. After hours may be the only time they have available to reach us. E-mail correspondences, while easily accessible, may take days to address simple fixes, and not always will someone be able to answer the phone to answer hard to ask questions.
Did you know, in customer service and technical support, the same questions are addressed over and over again? So, why not plan for this in the marketing mix? Hiring and training students to work after hours (when many will be wide awake and available), might be one way to cut back on “social” costs because they are only needed on demand but very important in customer retention. Addressing customer relations in Social forum, while keeping private conversations private, content is created and a solution has been addressed to unexpected and common problems encountered with our servicing and platforms.
Being brutally honest, some consumers will be too lazy or proud to reach out for help. Let’s use monitoring tools to find out their difficulties with our services and products and reach out to them! Let’s get involved in their conversations and sway negative conversations into testimonies and positive reviews. After all, Word of Mouth Marketing is always going to be the most effective form of marketing. The reason behind this is Brand Loyalty of our trusted friends and family will gain our interests over some advertisement thrown in our face to sell us something.
Similarly, dampening negative conversation about our brand helps dramatically, because negative feedback is twice as damaging as no feedback at all! Let’s find out true opinions based on customer experience and find out what isn’t working for our brand, why they aren’t “funneling correctly,” and why they are dissatisfied with our products -- and listen to them. Making changes surrounding the concerns of our customers is the way to go. After all, the goal is bringing them an end product that they can’t live without. This is how a brand will endure the tough times that every business battles when the economy slows down.
Understanding that social means interaction and keeping our consumer bases (potential and existing) are key to thriving in today’s overly saturated markets, it is mind boggling that only 28% percent of marketers are event implementing their consumers opinions and needs into the marketing mix! This includes monitoring, conversation, customers support and aggregation! Furthermore, only 6% are actually including IT and engineers into their strategy. Do they not understand the importance of SEO, customer reporting and analysis of data!? True, some data will never be able to be collected in a full spectrum due to the restraints of Cross-Platform Technologies and privacy laws, but there are some things in business that risks are worth taking -- especially if you know it is needed.
So, why isn’t more collaboration taking effect? Why are dollars being wasted outsourcing for data analysis and research when it is already available at our fingertips? Why aren’t we splurging areas of our budgeting on Social Media Marketing and Internet Marketing necessities where we stand to see most of our return on investment? Why don’t we allow our existing Social Branding efforts to coexist as customer retention, conversation and support?
Re-adjusting budgets in 2013 and forward is a must! Not only will funding expand to broaden our possibilities, but funding can be set aside to implement Mobile Marketing Strategies to take effect immediately. Mobile Marketing is social at our fingertips. It is more personal than any other form of marketing out there! But, guess what: Very few brands have begun to take advantage of this, and that is where many are falling behind. “Brand Socially” and see how much of the conversation takes place mobily.
So, you don’t have a mobile app. But, Facebook does. Twitter does. LinkedIn does. Google is the default for mobile Android browsers. Take advantage of this... NOW! Don’t be a faulty statistic. Make social work for you!