In a blog entry last March, Is Social Media a Consumer Haven or Marketing Channel?, I discussed the disconnect in value exchange between social properties and their consumers. I went so far as to identify the pressure Facebook will feel when they become subject to quarterly earnings expectations after their IPO, and hypothesized the situation where they will increase the exposure of personal information to encourage marketers to spend with them. Well… the game is getting started…
Today, Digiday featured the article “Brand View: Facebook’s New Targeting Options” and identified new elements of consumer data that will be available for marketers to leverage. I’m a firm believer in data driven marketing, this blog entry is not a comment about that. Rather, I point back to my initial conjecture that Facebook will do this and emphasize that this action will end up making no sense to consumers. Opposed to content rich sites like Yahoo or Microsoft properties, Facebook has no content, consumers create all of it but don’t yet recognize that it is their content and their profile are being monetized.
Mark my words… within three years, we’ll either see a Facebook with a dramatically new approach to monetizing their platform or a dramatically smaller company. Maybe both.
I’ll admit it… I’m in my 15th year of digital marketing, wrapped inside a 28 year career of marketing. While this can make me sound like an old fart, I realized quite a while ago that I no longer think in digital terms… I apply digital concepts, tactics and measurement to marketing strategy.
More than parsing words too closely, this goes to the core of all multichannel marketing and consumer centric strategies. Thinking in terms of channel based strategies, a.k.a. digital marketing strategies, is antithetical to success. Your target audience IS your target audience, regardless of where they come upon you.
Consider the rage of discussion around data management platforms, real time bidding and web recommendation tools. Across the board, all value the input of digital signals to try to deliver better or more efficient digital media. Is this the right answer? Last time I researched the area of media consumption, I found that consumers amass about 42% of their media impressions through digital channels.
If you still believe in the “digital marketing strategy”, today’s best practice, consider that you’re looking at less than half of your cutsomer engagement to deliver less than half of their impression of your brand. How does that align to the other 58% of media impressions? How do you control consistency between those impressions?
Hope you get the point. Start thinking about your marketing strategy, and how digital signals and media can help achieve your objectives. The world is turning increasingly digital, but until you make this shift, or until 100% of your audiences impressions are digital we’ll never see an alignment between the digital marketing strategy and overall marketing stratetgy… we’ll never see true consumer centric marketing or true customer engagement.
Yester-year I worked to connect large direct response retailers to their first ecommerce experience – integrating commerce and content systems into “enterprise resource planning” systems (ERP). While we hear less about ERP systems these days, the point of those solutions was that it really did connect all aspects of the business… finance, inventory, customer service, billing, and more.
Today, we use the word enterprise to describe something that we either want a VC to perk up and hear, or something that involves merging a few disparate things. I read a MediaPost article today, “Enterprise DMP Will Require Companies to Merge Data Silos“, and was reminded of this point.
While I thoroughly agree with the authors premise that data silos are on their way out, I disagree that having a larger silo is substantively better. Or, that it represents the “enterprise”. Combining more digital data for the purpose of sending more, or even better, digital messages is a great ideal but is not the right answer. Two points to consider…
To rightfully use the term, enterprise, it should at least cover a majority of the average media spend, if not all of it. Combining all digital channels, the best we can see in this digital coverage is about a 25% of ad spend and 40% of the consumption of media.
Consumers exhibit multichannel behavior, 70% research and purchase in different channels, online versus offline. Being better at just the online part of this equation match well with consumer expectations or marketer needs.
I came across a new chart today, and found the relationship between source of input for decision-making and the resulting usefulness and trust they found in the content – people tend to trust content at approximately half the rate that they find it useful.
Point #1 – Consumers trust AND value the usefulness of information gleaned through conversation with friends, families and co-workers (peers) at an exceedingly high level around the globe. I suppose the only interesting point here is that the observation is global in its’ nature.
Point #2 – Those same consumers trust comments and blogs less. Core social content is seen as less valid in decision-making. In fact, comments are trusted and found useful at about half the rate as personal relationships, and blogs at half of that.
Point #3 – Not just that, but they tend to trust the content half as much as they find it useful. THis is probably the more interesting stat… seen from a different dimension, people consciously use the latter two sources of content at twice the rate that they find it trustworthy. This doesn’t seem sustainable. It seems to beg for a new solution… consumers around the globe appear open for new social solutions to amass decision-making content.
I once met an old man who was the first grocery store owner to use shopping carts, in what is now a rather large metropolitan market. This conversation has stuck in my mind for many years because this person was a true revolutionary.
Today, we take his dilemma for granted, but in that time shoppers were accustomed to handing a list to a shopkeeper and for that person to collect the items. From the moment in time where he brought shopping carts in to the store and opened up the aisles for others to browse in, he both opened up a whole new chapter in consumer oriented marketing and he had to figure out how to entice his shoppers to do what might have been considered work for others to do. It was a huge hurdle to overcome.
In many regards, he faced more difficult problems than what we faced in the genesis of online retail adoption and development of marketing principles. He didn’t have to figure out how to get consumers to use a virtual shopping cart rather than a physical one, he had to figure out how to get consumers to actually learn to shop.
It’s precisely these types of stories we need to remember when we feel we don’t have guiding innovators, or that we have insurmountable problems. In fact, many of the principles we use today in online marketing are directly parallel to what these same retail grocers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers faced well over 60 years ago: how do we differentiate a product, who is the target audience, and how do we affect or aid in the transition of consumer behavior?