BrainTrust Query: To Understand Social Media, Marketers Must Drop the C Word
by Joel Rubinson, Chief Research Officer, The Advertising Research Foundation
ARF’s first meeting on social media, Chris Andrew, leader of Digitas Social
said, “We must stop using the ‘C’ word.” (C for “Campaign”).
a broadcast marketing world, we think of brand communications as being chunked
up into campaigns. In a social media world, you are creating a permanent commitment
to be present and part of the conversation. It isn’t a campaign, it is on-going
and self-perpetuating. He’s right – you can’t just pull the plug on conversation,
access, and authenticity. How about social media campaigns that you CAN pull
the plug on? Well maybe those reflect broadcast advertising mentality ported
over to social media environments — it “sounds” like social media, but it
is really broadcast (or narrowcast — but it’s ‘cast for sure!). BTW, Chris
sees the value in broadcast campaigns as part of a complete marketing strategy.
Ford, Peppercom, added that this isn’t about press relations anymore, it’s
1-1 relations; that’s the future. He also hates the word “viral.” We aren’t
creating undesirable infections; marketers must create content and apps that
people willingly share with their friends who they think would enjoy them.
In social media, peeps become the targeting engine!
Studness from Verizon talked about their success with new customer care models
based on peer-to-peer knowledge sharing environments they have created. He
admits he “lived in fear every night” when they first got started, exposing
their brand and service problems like that, but now he couldn’t imagine turning
off the spigot and, in fact, is making both peer-created and Verizon-created
content simultaneously searchable.
Lynne d. Johnson, the ARF’s head of social media (formerly head of communities
at Fast Company mag.) asked our panel about ROI, it was clear that we don’t
have all the answers yet. However, the answer I liked best was from General
Mills’ Heather Maxwell, “What is the ROI for you to send your mother a mother’s
day card?” So I might add, what is the ROI for authenticity? Who cares? What
kind of company do you want to be?
final big point is that you can’t jump into social media, you should listen
first. There are many wonderful listening platforms so pick one and dig in.
Get a twitter account, start sharing ideas with people you want to follow.
Search Twitter, Blogpulse and Google trends for key words you are interested
in. Dip a toe.
or not people will talk about you in social media is not the marketer’s choice;
the key issue is whether you will become part of the conversation. Or, as Lynne
d. Johnson asks, “Are you going to become the chief storyteller for your own
To what extent does the arrival of social media mean the end of campaign-driven
marketing efforts? How will talking to consumers change and stay the
same? How does measuring ROI around marketing efforts change?