In the past two weeks, Getty Images made its images available for free on a limited use basis to anyone on the Internet. The move represents a measured gesture to capture some of that social photo and content marketplace. But it’s not enough.
If you think small, you stay small. That’s why companies and brands that treat social like a unique practice — a box within the larger whole — will struggle to achieve results and intangible outcomes.
Building seemless customer experiences should take the fore in all strategies. Yet according to the CMO Survey, the integration gap in companies is not closing, in spite of years of research showing that cross-tactic coordination produces more sales.
The struggle to achieve ROI and real business impact with new media strategies is a direct result of focusing on individual tactics. Rather than simply discuss integration, an easier approach may be to consider building from the customer’s viewpoint.
Customers don’t care about social, in-store, mobile, content marketing, white glove treatment for influencers, or any of the other strands of spaghetti you see strewn across the marketing blogosphere wall. They don’t care about integrated multi-channel approaches either.
Read More »Social Results Will Stay Small
If you listen to conversations about online power — at least those supported by bloggers — strength centers on the individual voice. Yet, now that big money has arrived online, the solitary influential voice represents a role player in the Internet ecosystem.
Let’s use a metaphor to illustrate this point: Hollywood and its power structure of actors, directors and producers. Individual voices represent actors. Entities like budget-rich companies investing in online media, traditional media companies, publishing houses, and already successful individuals are the directors and producers.
This is not to demean individuals that have made a name for themselves online. Consistently excelling online as an influencer takes significant effort. There’s a reason why so many social media voices are obsessed with influence.
You can debate whether people garner attention or become noteworthy for achievements, but long-term success is not an accident. It’s the result of doing something right consistently over time.
Back to the metaphor… Everybody wants to work with the most successful actors (cough, stars [ugh]). We know this. Any blogger just needs to show you their in-box and the heaps of spam pitches they receive as proof points.
In building the program for xPotomac (February 25th), I sought to address a sea change in media evolution. That change spells the end for the social PR revolution, a marketing movement embodied by brand-led conversations over the past seven years.
We are currently experiencing a throttling of branded, online grassroots power. Specifically, it’s becoming harder and harder for marketers to be seen with branded earned media and social updates.
This evolution is best evidenced by the increasing role of owned and paid content placement (as discussed, content marketing is the 21st century nice description of advertising), and social or native advertising.
Other signs evidence this change, too. Social search and stronger policing of black hat SEO by Google has put a premium on paid search again. Facebook’s use of Edgerank to force companies and individuals alike to pay for attention is another harbinger of this fate.
The rise of big data and the forthcoming wearable computing revolution — themes that run throughout xPotomac — will cause a further throttling of online grassroots pipes.
So much for social ROI. Yesterday, the New York Times ran an op-ed debating social media marketing’s ability to deliver sales in comparison to other forms of advertising (for example, traditional search or email marketing).
A recent Forrester report stated paid search matters most for new customers, email matters most for repeat customers, and social tactics are not meaningful sales drivers. Correlating this data, ExactTarget surveyed more than 700 consumers (ages 15+) in its 2012 Channel Preferences study, and 77% responded that email was preferred over social media for communications for promotion offers.
Opt-in email and click throughs driven by paid search represent private acts of engagement that occur deeper in an online sales cycle.
While the linear sales cycle has been disrupted by online media in the past ten years, buying still represents a process.