In brief: four Marketing Strategy stories from crowdsourcing to viral marketing via engagement planning that I know will get your week off to a swing!
Where better to start this Strategic Bulletin than in the evergreen realm of Crowdsourcing?
First up, we’ve got Walmart’s decision to give customers an opportunity to vote for what they’d like to see on the shelves.
This is a pretty savvy move from the retail giant. Not only can they ensure that new and innovative products reach the shelves, but they can almost guarantee huge buzz around them as well. Customers who voted for the product will already have bought into the idea of owning one, and the people behind the products will be doing all the marketing for them.
Second on the crowdsourcing radar, we’ve got the State of Connecticut, which is seeking user contributions as it embarks on a two-year rebranding process.
This is crowdsourcing of a different type, crossing easily into brand building territory. It does, however, share an important similarity to the Walmart experiment – creating a situation where consumers are bought into the brand because they have contributed to it.
Anyone who makes a submission into the Connecticut meta-brand will feel a small piece of ownership over the finished product. And that’s a powerful trigger for both sharing and advocacy.
In my opinion, this end of the crowdsourcing spectrum can be a strategic bonus for businesses and brands. By asking the community for lots of small contributions, you widen the net for eventual advocacy because people feel as though their vote or video message meant something, but didn’t cost them a lot to create. Plus you can get input or ideas that even the best agencies in the world would miss.
The long/short of it is that by putting a consumer’s face in an advert or piece of marketing work, you can significantly change their behaviour and have an impact on your brand too. Roger gathers other examples of this for us and explains why this strategy works.
With the development of new technology, I think that we can expect a lot more of this. One of the earlier examples I loved was this awesome work for the Swedish TV Licencing Authority. Truly epic and a brilliant demonstration of viral marketing strategy.
Finally on the personalisation topic, I’d appreciate your views on this piece I created a while back about the potential for personal greetings post Foursquare log-in. If it works for DM response, shouldn’t it work for real-world too?
Yes, you can develop a viral marketing or advertising campaign (I know because I did – #2 on Mashable’s 10 Most Innovative Viral Videos 2010 list in fact). But IT IS NOT A STRATEGIC DECISION TO DO SO.
So when I read ‘33% of small businesses turning to viral marketing‘, you’ll understand that all I wanted to do was scream. In capital letters.
If I could recommend anything to you, it would be to stop trying to make a viral campaign. Make the best work that you can. Connect with your audience on as many levels as you can. Use every behavioural and/or neuroscientific trick in the book to get them to buy whatever you’re selling. Do everything in your power to get as many people to share and experience the work as you can.
But don’t set out to make a viral. The market moves too fast, what seems cool today is tired tomorrow and viewers are brilliant at sniffing out anyone who tries too hard.
Viral is not a strategy. Viral is an outcome from great, great work. And it’s not a new, shiny toy either – great content has always gone viral in one form or another, it’s just that the technology’s got a lot quicker now.
Now’s not the time to buy.
Rohit Bhargava (Influential Marketing) has provided an excellent analysis of Honda’s LeapList campaign for the CRV.
The point Rohit makes is one that sales people might shy away from, but one which marketers should embrace – i.e. that of deciding when a customer should purchase your product.
This isn’t an argument about which customer demographic you should go after – I have the sense that it’s much more about consumer psychology than that. (If you want to read a bun-fight about demographic profiling and targeting, check this article from Marketing Week’s Mark Ritson out)
Rohit’s clean analysis is well worth reading – and I would love to hear your experiences of implementing this approach within your marketing strategy.
Last but by no means least for this week’s Marketing Monday Bulletin is this superb piece from Alisa Leonard over on Clickz.
Put simply, engagement planning is a strategic content framework designed to connect you reliably and efficiently with your key audience and influencers.
This is strategic marketing for the “socially connected world” and Alisa’s top points should give you some ideas on how to embed engagement planning into your brand and marketing efforts.
Neil Hopkins is a Marketing and Branding Theorist at heart, and a Marketing Communications Manager by day. His blog – interacter – is the primary location he shares insight and information relating to marketing, branding and advertising strategy.
You can follow Neil on Twitter, circle him (like an escaped bull) on Google+ or track him down in any number of other ways.
The Daily Strategic Bulletin is a device designed to share interesting content with you across five key business areas – Marketing Strategy, Brand Strategy, Advertising Strategy, Business Advice and Inspiration.