Social Media meets Classical Marketing

Social Media reminds me of the best of classical marketing.

How do Classical Marketing, Marketing Strategy and Brand Management relate to Social Media?  Two recent conversations sparked a few thoughts on how much the principles of Brand Management, Marketing Strategy and Media Planning are more close than some may perceive.

1. marketing tools and practices may change but principles don’t
2. push pull strategies still exist – they just morphed into Social Media
3. offline ‘neighbourhood corner store-like’ relationships can exist online

Back in the late ’70’s I was trained in classical Brand Management, Marketing Strategy and Media Planning. It was a time when the world thought the definition of marketing was ‘sales’. In those days university was regarded as THE ONLY valid learning centres. However I knew how the theoretical university teachings would not wash in the real world. For 5 years I trained in an advertising industry-led, non-university, but well recognised tertiary environment from good ‘old-fashioned-values’ gents of the Ad Agency trenches. They shared their practical experiences of what real marketing (not just advertisng) was all about – warts and all. This training was so avante garde that it took a leading US university lecturer another 7 years to publish (and be acclaimed as avante garde in the 1980’s for it) the very concepts my tutors taught.

One of those concepts was all about brand and message needing to match market, that we must strive to influence more effectively by not only promoting your brand directly TO your market (the traditional view) but also to influence FROM WITHIN the COMMUNITY (not so traditional in marketing, but was practiced in salesmanship). So it was important to identify the infuencers to create a self generating buzz, to enthuse positive buyer behaviours, brand loyalty and generate increased sales. Isn’t that how the very best examples of BAND loyalty grew (not bRand loyalty!)? It is known as push-pull strategy.

Knowing the effectiveness of these push-pull strategies, marketers over the last 10 years made great efforts to improve how this is implemented. We marketers knew full well what the communication goal was: consumer involvement and interaction, brand love, personal 2 way communication: one-to-many and many-to-one. However, the tools were so embryonic that it was difficult to achieve. Newsletters and emails were a positive change but still so limited to a semi-personalisation and not truly 2 way.

Apart from not having the ultimate tools for the job, corporates were still using mass outbound marketing methods. After a few years of corporate life I ended up in SME’s. During this stage my SME did not have the budget luxury of being able to mass market. Instead I tested and measured the effectiveness of personalised communication. Every time a client got a whiff that I was using my semi-templated response, the feedback was either
1. measureable silence (abandonment with no word of complaint!)
2. decreased conversions

When I recommenced personalised communications
1. the response and conversion rates increased
2. new customers, unaware of any previous impersonal communication practices, expressed relief that I communicated as a real person

I felt guilty that I wasn’t mass email marketing as the Big Boys were. Despite the successful results I still thought the Big Boys knew something I didn’t, but was determined never to compromise on personalised communication. Little did I know I was onto something! I did not realise until the advent of Social Media how much personalised communication was the next big gem in the marketing crown, delivering the attention and intimacy customers craved. What’s more it’s the magic influence marketers secretly wanted to have with their customers. A win for each!

Now, in Social Media, at last we do have the ultimate 2 way tools for the job, that allow us into our customers’ world like never before. So all that we marketers wished we could can achieve is possible with Social Media.
1. We still select the right tool at the right time for the right market. Instead the tools, and communication methods have changed.
2. Push – pull is so much easier with Social Media integrated with offline marketing or Web 1.0 online tools.
3. We can achieve the familiarity of old fashioned corner store relationships – but we use new upgraded set of tools these days

Posted by Jenny Wilmshurst, Tweet Twins Social Media, Social Media empowerors and educators.

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