3 Reasons Why Social Media Has Earned a Seat at the Marketing Table

We just wrapped up our first DIG of the year, The Social Media Revolution. We explained why we’re encouraging brands to not view social media as just one of their “resolutions” for 2012, but explore how they can use it to totally “revolutionize” the way they market their brand.

The reason we’re talking about Social Media “REVOLUTIONIZING” your brand in 2012 instead of it being another “RESOLUTION” is because we believe it’s finally earned a seat at the table.

In 2010, Social media would have been at the kids table at Thanksgiving at the Marketing house with QR Codes, SEO, and other strategies, but in 2012, it’s finally earned a seat at the Adult Table.

For a few reasons….

Social media gives brands a new opportunity to gain influence.

The reason that many brands are hesitant to start using social media is because they are afraid that they’ll loose total control over their brand’s perception. And to some point, that’s justifiable. But, we explained that brands can either view that as a threat, or as an opportunity.

Social media allows brands to influence consumer’s perception in a new way, by listening to the conversation and reacting.

It’s a Pull, not a Push

Social Media is different than any other way we market our brand. For the past 40 years, it’s always been about who can yell their message the loudest and clearest. We were trying to push our message to as many people as possible. Hopefully if we yell loud and clear enough, people will choose us.

Now with social media, it’s changed. We’re trying to pull people into our product.

Social media is a lot like dating. You don’t go on a first date and boast about how awesome you are (well… some of you might, but that’s why you’re not getting date #2). No, you go in and talk about the other person. Ask them questions to see what their interested in… Be entertaining, be fun, be engaging. Create a brand people fall in love with.

Social media has changed consumer’s expectations

The third reason Social Media has earned a seat at the adult table is because it’s changed customer expectations of brands. Consumers EXPECT brands to interact with them in social media.

If you want an example of a brand doing a horrible job at this, just check Netflix’s Facebook page. The only use Facebook as a one-way communication tool. Could they have possibly avoided some of the loss of 800,000 subscribers when the increased their prices if they would have portrayed a little more sympathy through their social media…. Probably.

Combine these reasons with the exponential growth of social media since the beginning of 2011 and we think you’ll see the potential for it to revolutionize your marketing efforts in 2012.

Here is our complete presentation: The Social Media Revolution

What are we covering at our next DIG? Check out our complete 2012 DIG schedule.

Have Questions? Feel free to contact us any time if you’re interested in discussing how to use social media for your business.

Marketing Planning: Building a Blueprint for Your Brand

It’s October, which means if you haven’t already started thinking about your 2012 marketing plan, it’s time to start. During our October DIG, we discussed the nuts & bolts of planning for next year & unpacked everything you need to know when it comes to marketing your brand.

Brand Touch Points

Diagram Copyright of Design Brand Identity, 3rd Edition, by Alina Wheeler

We admit, at first this diagram can be a little overwhelming, but it’s an important reminder of how many touch points your brand can have. It also prevents you from falling into one of the common marketing pitfalls,which we also covered during the DIG.

Steps to Planning for Success

Step One: Know your Product or Service – There is a reason that this is the first step when it comes to planning for success. If you don’t know what you’re selling, how can you create a plan to sell more? Before you start digging into branding and planning, it’s important to determine why you’re doing it. Make sure you know exactly what you’re selling.

Step Two: Research – Researching on the front end can save you a lot of time and money down the road. It’s important to find your target market. Host focus groups or indulge in market research to hone in on who is really going to be interested in buying your product. Don’t think you have a specific target market? You do.

Step Three: Listen to Your Audience – So you’ve determined your product/service and target market. Now it’s time to figure out how you’re going to get that target audience interested in your brand. Many times brands want to jump into the launch of their product without first figuring out how they want to approach their messaging. Listen. Consumers are talking about products in your industry. Taking advantage of what they’re saying could be a huge opportunity for your brand. Is there something you can offer that competitors can’t? How can your product or service make life better for your potential customers?

Step Four: Branding and Messaging - A brand is made up of the numerous methods and tactics that a company can utilize to tell their story and promote their product or service. To create true brand congruency that leads to customer acquisition, the way a company “talks” about itself must always be consistent. From collateral to elevator pitches and web to print advertising, tone, vocabulary, key benefits and unique selling propositions must be outlined in a purposeful messaging exercise.

Step Five: Marketing Planning - The key to a successful marketing campaign is strategy. But it’s not something we make up out of thin air — it’s something we engage in. It’s a process that allows us to customize to help achieve what you’ve always wanted: Growth, image, legacy. It’s important to create a plan that is ever-changing and can be followed by all team members. Each section builds the proper plan and one leads seamlessly to the next. Treat the strategies as the overall umbrella, with the tactics supporting each strategy, and the exhibits fully outlining your approach.

Step Six: Launch of Plan -  Now that your plan has been developed, budgets and timelines approved, the execution begins. Generally at Werkshop this means getting our team back together to review the plan.  All team members need to fully understand the overall goals, strategies and tactics that will be implemented.  Stick to the plan but be flexible. This is the stage in which we create your brand. 

Step Seven: Measure the Results – We’re big advocates for this. The key to measuring your results is having measurable goals to begin with. How you measure each goal will vary, but have the measurement tools in mind and build them into your plan.

The Presentation

The B2B Marketing Challenge

Following last month’s social media case studies with B2B and B2C strategies and some recent client interactions along the same theme, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this topic. What I’m about to say will resonate with some and aggravate others, but let me add this disclosure: I’m speaking the truth!

B2B marketing isn’t as “sexy” as B2C.

And there you have it. It often involves the cutting edge tactics with a little bit of fun thrown in (like these). But if you know me at all this will probably not be a surprise, I don’t really mind the B2B stuff. I think the added layer of challenges and parameters is “fun” and “sexy.” Sometimes this puts me in the position of having a tough conversation with a client about realigning their tactics to be friendlier with their business type (B2B or B2C). And sometimes that conversation is more like an argument, but it’s all in the name of getting the best results for the company’s bottom line. A lot of times, I fall back on research and analytics to help the company as they transition to where they need to be. When it comes to B2B marketing, one of the greatest tools to have is a content marketing strategy.

But what is CONTENT MARKETING, and how is it done? It isn’t as complicated as the moniker would allude, and companies that “get it” will be among the next wave of successful B2B organizations.

At the core of content marketing lies the concept of “thought leadership.” Basically, this is what companies do to look smart, create trust with prospects and clients and to become a resource for information. And, it all begins with creating quality, organic, strategic content.

Content might come in the form of white papers that would live on your company’s website, a blog that welcomes feedback from readers, a workshop or seminar series that offers helpful information, and the list could go on and on! What’s important is that this content be

• Planned – Identify topics and channels and timelines
• Directed at your audience – What do they want to hear? What are they looking for?
• Consistent – Keep the information coming!
• Distributed by technology that people are already using – Common social tools
• Promoted – No one will read your content if they don’t know it is there!

As a part of our DIG programming, our speakers in March addressed 13 steps to effective content marketing. Please check out their presentation to learn more about content marketing, and as always, let us know if you have feedback. We’re all ears…  I challenge you to do your own content marketing plan and then, measure your own results. What should you expect to see?

• Improved search rankings
• Other sites linked to your content (in-bound links improve SEO)
• Increased web traffic when users come to your site and use it as a resource

Social Marketing – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Social Marketing – the tool in the toolbox that won’t sit still. In mommy language, I wish I could give it a “time out.” Or, maybe just a nap, but either way, as marketers, we can’t stop time and harness the information on this one. We just have to go with it.

Every six months, we revisit social marketing in the DIG programming so that we can have updated conversations internally and externally about what we’re experiencing as strategic marketers. We’ve evolved from basic-use topics to advanced, anticipatory strategies that our clients and colleagues can chew on and implement in their own way. We spend a lot of time looking at B2B and B2C best practices and mixing our tendencies as early adopters with those of shrewd listeners to come up with the best solutions. It moves fast, but we’ve grown accustomed to the pace.

We pulled together the follow-up material from this month in one convenient place below. Make sure you check it out for further reading on Social Marketing:

- A recap of questions we were asked through our new interactivity channels #DIG_Qs on Twitter and DIG_Qs@WerkshopMarketing.com
- More on B2C social media from Tasti D-Lite
- Additional information about Best Buy and the @Twelpforce phenomenon

Social Marketing – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Brainstorming

Like most Creatives I brainstorm for a living, but I had never really broken down or analyzed my brainstorming process until Holly started peppering me with questions about it. Brainstorming to me is all about collaborating, so when we were planning how to structure the Brainstorming DIG on 8/26 I immediately knew that putting together a panel of fellow brainstormers to discuss the topic was definitely the way to go. When I was choosing the panel I treated it like a brainstorming session, pulling together a variety of people who come from different scenarios (in-house and agency) as well as from different head spaces (email, web, media production, print design and marketing strategy) but who participate in the formal and informal act of brainstorming all the time. Thank you to Chris Blanz, Allison Davis and John Hussey for participating!

I guess I would peg my style within any creative project as “strategic/organic” which mainly just means that I always have clear goals in mind and do tons of research but arrive at my solutions in a very organic way. Creating a spark, layering ideas and collaboration are the key. Below are a few of my tips to help you have a productive brainstorming effort:

1. Know your goal. What problem are you trying to solve?
2. Use a group. Keep your group lean and mean and get the right variety. Maybe invite the accountant or someone who comes from a different head space.
3. Write down everything and encourage others to do the same.
4. Make sure there is a moderator who can guide the group (politics and all) through an effective session.
5. Give all participants equal time to share. A good moderator will encourage this to happen.
6. Embrace the ridiculous- even those ideas could lead to an effective solution.

Keep those creative juices flowing.

Dot-Com-Munication comes to Bowling Green!

Professor Rob, I have a question — How do we make our website so awesome that it totally integrates with social media? For all Diggers who attended the DIG in BG today, we received the answer to just that question. Call it going back to school. Call it “we learned a thing or two today”. Call it what ever you want, but I think we can all agree it was well worth our time. Rob Blackford knows his stuff. Yes, I said it, his stuff. I can honestly say that Rob is one of the most talented and genuine people I have ever had the distinct pleasure of working with.

Rob spent the time he had this morning educating us to this basic outline of thought — that Design + Content + Promotion = a really good Website. It doesn’t seem like rocket science, but unfortunately, not many are doing it the right way. To bad for them. If you’ve made a commitment to do it right, then do it. If we can be of help, call us.

-Tim

February DIG: Hammers & Thumbs

Today, I had the distinct pleasure of serving as tour guide to a group of trusting fellow marketers through the world of marketing blunders. We relived New Coke, grumbled at the iPhone repricing debacle of 2007, and laughed at Snapple’s big idea of 2005 to create the world’s largest ice pop. (It melted – everywhere – in the middle of New York.)

What we learned today is that if we make marketing decisions based in strategy, we are far less likely to end up as fodder for a similar presentation. Of course, we also learned that it’s okay to laugh at ourselves — because if you aren’t making mistakes as a marketer, you probably aren’t trying very hard. The presentation portion of today’s DIG is below; to continue the conversation and get updates on upcoming educational opportunities, visit us (and be our fan) on Facebook.


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