There is quite a debate going on in LinkedIn about my post You can’t guilt people into buying stuff. My premise is that you can’t develop a social media relationship with someone just so you can “guilt” them into buying something. Do we form relationships with people just to get something from them ? Of course not. What has become increasingly clear is that consumers want to talk to real people not agencies. They won’t be guilted into purchasing your product or brand but they will respond to someone talking as a real person to other real people, not market segments.
Last year I led some qualitative market research that clearly showed that people don’t want to talk to agency people on social media. The recent debacle at Home Depot clearly reinforces that. At its heart a social media relationship is a relationship and nobody should take a relationship for granted.
But he runs a successful agency ?
The second argument that someone is right because they run a successful agency is flawed. How many bankers run profitable banks yet they were responsible , in large part, for the financial meltdown ? There are some big names who run profitable ad agencies but does this mean they are experts in marketing ? Hardly. Remember that for all the egotists who self-promote there are usually a lot of hard working people who never get recognition.
Is social media the answer ?
One of my predictions for 2014 is that a lot of marketers are going to find out that social media marketing is more hype than reality. I have said many times that consumers don’t have time to have relationships with every brand in their life and research has shown that less than 20% of branded social media posts are ignored. Twitter’s IPO went very well but they have yet to make a profit so one wonders how much longer before investors pressure management to make money at the expense of users ?
Brands do need to be on social media but they have to learn how to listen rather than broadcast. Integrated digital marketing might not be an industry-wide standard yet, but brands are definitely starting to restructure how they manage their marketing channels and teams to better position them to deliver integrated digital marketing strategies:
- 49% manage all of their online media channels in-house.
- 96% are working closer with IT to achieve marketing goals.
- 49% still have separate channel owners, but they communicate often and share goals .
My prediction is that 2014 will be a year of marketing integration with more reliance on tactics, such as POP displays, that provide a better ROI. The first question any agency should ask of clients is “why do you think you need to be on social media?” and “what’s the value for consumers?” rather than taking the money and building a nice looking Facebook page.
With more channels comes more opportunity and challenges to optimize the marketing mix, that is where many marketers fall short. Experts tend to self promote themselves but rather they should let their work speak for itself with measurable results against brand objectives. Engagement is nice to talk about but engagement does not necessarily add to the bottom line.