Marketing Sense

A discussion of marketing tools and tactics with a common sense attitude

Archive for November, 2009

Social Media Without the Trial and T-error

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on November 23, 2009

By Colin N. Clarke

If you were to look around marketing speaker’s circuits in any given town today you will find some business sharing it’s experience in using social media. You’ll hear how social media provides some great opportunities, but comes with pitfalls to watch out for as well. Here’s how your business can take advantage of social media opportunities, without the dangers of trial and error.

Strategy BEFORE tactics – A common pitfall: A business will say, “We need a Facebook page,” or “We need to do something with Twitter.” Truth is, worry about tactics LAST not first. The tools will change over time. Two years ago there was no such thing as Twitter, three years ago, no Facebook, four years ago MySpace was a HIT, but not so much anymore. Develop a strategy FIRST. The tactics that follow will then become obvious. Read Jay Baer’s article “The 7 Steps to Creating a Social Media Strategy” for more.

Establish objectives – What do you intend to accomplish with a social media strategy? Just saying you want 500 new followers or fans isn’t enough. Go deeper and establish some clear objectives. With social media you can address many areas, but define them now so you can stay on target.

– Improve the company image as being ­_________ (professional, caring, responsive, more…)

– Increase trial/use of our products or services

– Increase customer access to information on our company / products / services

– Increase membership / participation

– Improve customer / member communication

Budget for it – There is a common misconception that social media is FREE. Well, it isn’t. Yes, access to many tactical tools are free, but effectively employing a social media strategy that yields results requires an investment. Josh Lysne’s article, “It’s a lot of things… free is not one of them,” talks about the significant investment of TIME required to appropriately deploy a social media strategy. “You need to regularly engage your audience. You need to actively monitor what is being said. You need to review, refine and rework your engagement strategies.” All of these are vitally important and all of these require TIME – so budget for it. This may mean a new full-time position (or two) simply to execute your social media strategy, so be prepared.

Follow through – In consideration of the TIME factor mentioned above, follow through can become a pitfall and challenge for many. Social media creates an environment for audiences to engage with your brand – whether you like it or not. You need to be prepared to initiate and respond. How will your business deal with a situation that suddenly goes viral like the YouTube video “United Breaks Guitars?” It can happen at any time, but if your social media strategy is thorough, you will have a listening program and a response plan in place… AND you will have someone assigned to respond appropriately and in a timely manner.

Effective social media strategy and planning can remove the fear of trial and error and replace it with a confident approach to optimizing customer engagement and relationships.



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Friday’s Facebook Campaign – Brilliance or Bust?

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on November 23, 2009

By Colin N. Clarke – Companies have been exploring different means of leveraging social media reach, but the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s took it to a new level with their recent Facebook Fan campaign for fictional spokesperson “Woody.”

What makes this campaign so impressive is how a commercial entity essentially asked for and received permission to advertise to customers on Facebook. By using a free hamburger giveaway via a cleverly executed challenge to reach 500,000 “friends” on Facebook, TGI Friday’s lured customers and potential customers into the heart of the campaign.

Once confirmed as a Facebook “friend,” TGI Friday’s provided a series of entertaining and engaging status updates, video posts and discussions. All talking about the free hamburger giveaway while effortlessly pumping up top of mind awareness for the TGI Friday’s brand.

The commercial components to the campaign are brilliant. The registration process required to become eligible for a free hamburger took registrants through a relatively detailed list of questions. So while us “friends” were gleefully sharing our information for a free burger, TGI Friday’s was building a detailed database of potential customers with information provided via registration as well approved access to our Facebook information. The level of information shared and the careful detail by which TGI Friday’s built and executed the campaign is simply brilliant. A commercial entity had successfully pierced the personal veil of social media and built a fan base of more than 950,000 “friends” in the process.

But the story does not end there, and this is where the greatest lesson of social media comes to light. When you make a promise to your friends in a public forum, you had better follow through or risk your own public humiliation.

At the time I am writing this blog we are in the heart of redemption week for TGI Friday’s free hamburgers and their nearly 1 million fans. And the redemption process is brutal. A visit to the Discussions tab on Facebook Fan page shows a myriad of angry comments from unruly fans who have been wholly turned off by the difficulty of the redemption process. And the anger doesn’t stop there. On recent fan posts the negative comments are flowing at a rate of 5-to-1 (negative to positive). It appears that the true nature of social media may have caught up with TGI Fridays – the fact that conversation happens, both good and bad.

So what lessons have we learned from this groundbreaking social media campaign?

1) Provide a reasonable reward or offer – the “fans” loved the idea of a free burger meal.

2) Be entertaining – the Woody campaign is clever, fun, engaging and ran across multiple media.

3) Build excitement– the “challenge” to reach 500,000 fans built camaraderie and encouragement.

4) Encourage conversation– each new Facebook post lead fans to engagement and conversation.

5) FULFILL YOUR PROMISE – follow through and have friends for life, fail expectations and ???

It remains to be seen how TGI Friday’s will manage their reward redemption nightmare. So far on Facebook, it’s looking pretty ugly. Lots of comments of people feeling used, betrayed and planning to boycott the restaurant now. And fans have now started their own Woody Complaints Facebook page. Not what TGI Friday’s intended when they started the campaign. BUT… with all things social, Friday’s can still engage positively in the conversation and make things right with their 1 million new “friends.” It will be interesting to see how this campaign comes to a close.

So, did you get your burger?

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5 Principles for Brand Longevity – Lessons from a Marketing Juggernaut

Posted by Colin N. Clarke on November 23, 2009

By Colin N. Clarke – It’s truly amazing what marketing can accomplish when done right. I recently attended a performance of the musical The Lion King and simply had to marvel at what the marketing juggernaut Disney has done to create this “brand.”

Who would have thought that an animated movie could spawn such an incredible revenue generating franchise more than 15 years later! Of course Disney took us through the sequels and spinoffs, the merchandising and figurines, the soundtracks and re-releases. But after 15 years you’d think they might have exhausted the potential of that little old cartoon. Anyone else, but not Disney.

Disney Theatrical Productions has built a brand around the name The Lion King with ongoing productions taking place in New York City, Las Vegas, Paris, Hamburg, Tokyo, and London. In addition there are two touring companies settling into major cities across the United States.

Here’s a glimpse into the revenue generating power that has been built around The Lion King brand. By my calculation, a sold out week (9 performances by a touring company) in a 2,000 seat theatre can generate more than $1.3 million of revenue on ticket sales alone! Multiply that revenue generating power across multiple performance locations worldwide and you can quickly see how Disney has turned that little 1994 animation into a mega BRAND.

So what has Disney done right to maintain the appeal and longevity of a brand that should have run the course of its productive life long ago? Let’s have a look at what Disney has done, and what you can too to generate long-term affinity for your business’ brand.

1) Understand your audiences – Their interests, what motivates their buying behavior and why they choose you.

2) Appeal to the influencers – (For Disney, parents). They need to find interest in your brand and feel safe in recommending you or approving a purchase.

3) Manage your reputation – Your brand must be trustworthy and unblemished. Keep tabs on what others say about your brand and be prompt in respectfully correcting misrepresentations.

4) Be consistent – Day-in, day-out, deliver on your brand promise, maintain your brand standards and give your audience a reason to remember you (positively of course!).

5) Be innovative – Monitor how your audiences’ interests and expectations evolve and deliver new products, services or information of VALUE that is representative of your brand.

These principles help build Disney’s The Lion King into a brand far beyond an animated movie. Follow these 5 steps to build strength and longevity for your brand, and who knows, you just might create the next marketing juggernaut.

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