Mitch Joel from Twist Image & the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast put out a post here about how Digital Marketers are getting their heads around social media, and there are several thoughts here I would like to expand on from a client side point of view.
The biggest challenge I faced when walking the two hundred and fifty online marketers through my Six Pixels of Separation presentation was how to build community and content around a working model that is strictly focused on conversion.
I know how you must have felt. It's a tough conversation justifying additional marketing spend for activity that is not as accountable (yet) as Pay-Per-Click. Online marketing has fought hard to earn it's reputation as a 'cost effective' acquisition channel, and for some companies that can become a drug that's hard to kick.
I see parallels between social media and TV Brand advertising. The effects of TV Brand Advertising is difficult to measure accurately, but there is an over-riding belief that it's is the right thing to do for the following reasons;
- It's gives the advertiser reach to a broad audience
- It can communicate quickly who you are and what your values are
- It casts a positive 'halo' effect over direct response channels that improves response rates
Social Media can also provide these three things, but the real opportunity is in what else it can add on top, namely;
- Cost Effectiveness - It doesn't cost a million pounds to enter a conversation online. It could. But it doesn't have to
- Accountability - tracking tools and analytics will continue to improve in this space giving Marketers an unprecedented amount of useful data
- ....and most importantly communication with social media is a conversation, therefore by it's very nature it's two way. This is the real opportunity
Marketers are increasingly understanding both what conversations that are relevant to them, and how they should take part in a credible way. The 'dad on the dance floor' gaffs of brands who got it wrong should become fewer and fewer.
Drawing similarities between the online & offline world, like the example above, can help more traditional marketeers see through the hype and identify the opportunities.
By the end of 2007 I hope there are some great examples for us to talk about.