Vague = Valueless

“The very first law in advertising is to avoid the concrete promise and cultivate the delightfully vague.” Perhaps in mass media, 30-second-or-less advertising, this applies. But not in the real world. Most communications need specificity. This counts double in social media, where messages are limited by technology and providers (like Twitter’s 140 character cut-off) or by the scavenger nature of most social media consumers. Vagueness leads to disinterest, which leads to an inattentive or diminishing audience, which leads to a not-for-profit status. Treat each outbound communication like it was your only chance to talk with the intended audience, and make it mean something to them. If the communication is designed to lead them to more communications (i.e., a Tweet and link to a content page), then make sure the terminal content has meaning too. … Continue reading

Antisocial Media

“Twitter is an ‘all about me’ place. So is Facebook. Both will be replaced with something else someday.” The radio host who said this, a man who lives in the social space as part of his livelihood, was making a fairly shrewd observation. Perhaps the condition is temporary, but most social media is about micropublishing, allowing everyone and their grandpa to broadcast to anyone who remotely cares. As proven in the last election cycle, everyone voicing their opinions and preferences online strains the patience of others, and over time reduces the desire to participate. As a young store clerk in a Forever 21 outlet recently said to me “Facebook is too noisy. Nobody my age hangs out there.” Sadly, a lot of marketers are in the “all about me” mode of social, and achieving the same sad results. I scanned a few B2B twitter accounts to spot check social activity … Continue reading

Media Mutters

Media ain’t what it used to be … thank God. The internet has made everyone a publisher, and as such has completely rearranged from where information and power emit. Dead is the quaint era when all info rained like fetid manna from centralized sources. Today you, the marketing ground workers, have seemingly endless avenues for promoting your products, your brand and your profits. Which is why some of you have been driven to drink (though for a few it was just a short stroll). The reason self-medication is becoming popular in marketing circles has nothing to do with Mad Men or three martini lunches. It derives from needing to orchestrate outreach through all these media channels. Wherever such seeming chaos ensures, it is best to take a deep breath, a shot of something, and distill your options into a manageable set. In media, there are three basic categories through which … Continue reading

Old School Social

My dentist does social marketing. This should surprise nobody because social marketing has existed since the first two cavemen competed by selling left-over mastodon meat (“My mastodon steaks come with 30% fewer fatal microbes!”). Businesses have always used the power of social networking, long before social media became a reality. Social media changes nothing and thinking about primitive social marketing helps to clarify your social outreach. Social marketing is, in essence, assuring that people talk about you in positive terms. As an example, when you move to a new city, odds are you ask everyone about their recommendation for a good dentist. Some will warn you about bad jaw crackers, and others will wax poetic about how gentle and through is their dental doc. This is social promotions in its most basic form. The product (dental services) is referenced by customers based on the positioning criteria they most vale (money, … Continue reading

Real SoLoMo

Intersections cause collisions, but also opportunities. A basic marketing strategy is practice to find the intersection of what customers want to achieve (expected outcomes) and where the market is not providing that solution. Alternately, one can look for places where different technologies can, for the first time, be combined and create previously unavailable value. Smart phones are now ready to facilitate SoLoMo. The three raging factors in markets and marketing today are SOcial, LOcation-based apps and MObile. The real-time enabled combination of these three may well be the next major moment in consumer technology and marketing. The ability to reach people in tight geographical clusters, who are sharing an experience or looking for one, will be an exciting market in which to pitch. Social is about sharing. As witnessed by Facebook posts, it is the moment in which the user has the impetus to share that is important. What one … Continue reading

B2Bing Social

The word “consternation” could be illustrated by faces of B2B technology marketers trying to leverage social media. Social media is plate tectonics under marketing terra firma. It is a fundamentally new way of reaching people that at least augments, and in many cases replaces, traditional marketing. Getting unpaid people to carry your message to potential buyers seems to be a gift from the Gods, or at least Mark Zuckerberg. Well, for B2C marketing mavens. B2B has uneven results in social promotions. Part of the reason is that motivations for sharing a YouTube video with Grandma are very different from sharing anything with your co-workers, boss or peers. And whereas Nanna might forward your email to cousin Don, your boss might never forward it to anyone. Motivations for sharing are the center of any social outreach, be it passing the collection plate at church or making off with the offerings. Business … Continue reading

Faking Authenticity

It is odd to encounter plain spoken and seemingly honest politicians. Being a professional cynic, I doubt nearly everything. Having been a political animal my entire adult life, I’m doubly cynical about anyone who campaigns to achieve power. To be disappointed in broken political promises is a sign of naivety. To believe any political brand shows trust where there should be none. So to witness a handful of governors and other candidates speaking bluntly, without equivocation, and taking positions normally considered poisonous … and then watch their poll numbers rise … is both a lesson in marketing and possibly a sign of the Apocalypse. Authenticity matters in all matters. If you could not take your spouse’s word, then your marriage would be destined for the dumpster (which always makes me wonder about Bill and Hillary). When corporations promote products that do not deliver, the acquired lack of authenticity becomes fatal. … Continue reading