BrainTrust Query: Social Network Stalking

May 13, 2010
David Dorf

Commentary by David Dorf , Director of Technology Strategy, Oracle Retail

a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from a current
article from Insight-Driven Retailing Blog.

Think about this:
By reading this blog, you and I are connected. We have this blog and its topics
in common, so there’s a chance we have other things in common as well. In any
relationship there is a degree of trust and influence. If you trust me, at
least in terms of particular subjects, then I have some influence over you.
If I buy an iPad, then there’s an opportunity for me to influence your possible
purchase of an over-hyped tablet that you don’t really need.

So what could a
retailer do with this? Retailers that have fans and followers should assume
that the friends of those fans and followers are more susceptible to their
marketing efforts. If I’m a fan of Apple, then Apple will be more successful
marketing to my friends than marketing to random people. Intuitively that makes
sense, at least to me. Companies like 33Across are already putting
this theory into practice, and achieving some interesting results.

Jeff Jarvis,
who by-the-way is speaking at CrossTalk this year, has been discussing the
power of influencers in social networks. In his blog he rails against marketers
and says “messages and influence aren’t the future of marketing; conversations
and relationships are.” Valuable messages will be passed on because they
are valuable, not because someone has the power to exert influence.

True enough,
but that won’t stop the efforts underway to leverage social networks for more
targeted advertising. From a business perspective, this sounds like a goldmine
to me; on a personal level, it’s a bit creepy.

Discussion Questions:  What do think of marketing campaigns targeting social
influencers? Is it fair game for marketers to leverage the social network connections
of influencers or followers? Or is it an invasion of privacy?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

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9 Comments on "BrainTrust Query: Social Network Stalking"

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Max Goldberg
10 years 11 months ago

Marketers are going to try to reach consumers in as many locales as possible, with as targeted a message as possible. There is no such thing as privacy on the Internet. If you post it, it is public, regardless of the privacy protections a site might offer.

Why shouldn’t marketers target influencers? An influencer has the potential to lead your brand to a number of like-minded users.

Sure, building a relationship with consumers through listening and dialogue is important, but it is not going to completely replace push advertising.

Paul R. Schottmiller
Paul R. Schottmiller
10 years 11 months ago

They are going to do it, and if you don’t want any of it you better be careful of your digital footprint. The old days of just unlisting your phone number to stop unwanted marketing is long gone.

That said I am more interested in how they will do it.

Bad approaches used in the past include the junk mail that I personally don’t read and throw into the garbage can before walking into the house, telemarketers whom I screen, and TV commercials where I use time shifting to avoid.

None of these bring me any value. I am hoping as they learn more about me they bring relevant offers and find a way to deliver it in a way that will inconvenience me less. The alternative is that my “screening” skills will evolve.

Paula Rosenblum
10 years 11 months ago

Jeff Roster found this fabulous drawing in the NY Times showing the web of privacy option in Facebook.

In other words, Facebook is sure trying to enable this. People will get to choose between privacy and relevancy. If you can really follow the chart above, you can actually make some intelligent decisions, but be aware–the Facebook privacy statement is longer than the US constitution.

Rick Moss
10 years 11 months ago

Some of the most advanced work in the influencer marketing field involves mining purchasing and loyalty card data, using some very sophisticated algorithms, to find the customers that have the biggest sway over their family, friends and colleagues. It’s not necessarily a matter of tapping information from Facebook and new social media venues, but figuring out what the influencer’s place is in his/her traditional social network (i.e. family dinners, water cooler talk, etc.) by seeing overlaps in purchasing habits.

Drop me a line if you’d like more info.

Gene Detroyer
10 years 11 months ago
Who out there is watching commercials on TV in other than news or sports? My wife and I DVR almost all the shows we watch. Those that we don’t record, we pause at the beginning, so we have enough lead to fast forward through commercials. If I can eliminate commercials that easily with my cable technology, imagine how I can selectively control marketing messages with technology that is much more user friendly. While both social media and personal media are finally being recognized by marketers and advertising agencies, there seems to be an effort to try to shoehorn the current mass advertising mind set into a medium that is ultimately person to person. This will fail. The winners in this new environment will be the thought leaders who start with a blank piece of paper and design an advertising system that communicates effectively with the individual power of the user. The transition that must take place is considerably greater than the historic transitions from print to radio to television. In fact, user controlled media may… Read more »
David Biernbaum
10 years 11 months ago

Effectively using the social media for product marketing makes tons of sense because it reaches a much targeted audience with the right common interests. However, like any other means, there are at least a thousand ways to do it wrong and even to produce erroneous results. Best to put it in the hands of the experts and do it right!

Ed Rosenbaum
10 years 11 months ago

Is this a surprise to anyone? It has been happening for a good period of time, and with some success. I am interested to see how this develops and grows as social media and marketing continue to grow and expand.

John Crossman
John Crossman
10 years 11 months ago

I highly recommend that all retailers get their arms around this fast. We are leveraging social media significantly and have had success with it. Retailers must connect with consumers at their points of interest.

John Crossman
John Crossman
10 years 11 months ago

I highly recommend that all retailers get their arms around this fast. We are leveraging social media significantly and have had success with it. Retailers must connect with consumers at their points of interest.


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