Friday, October 29, 2010

Can We Define Social Media Marketing?

There’s still a lot of confusion among marketers and managers in general about what social media marketing really involves. We all know that some businesses (and non-profits) are seeing great successes in social media while others are merely nibbling around the edges, and still others remain firmly skeptical.

With that in mind the other day, I searched for a definition of SMM. I didn’t find many and what I did find was a bit disturbing. It boils down to the fact that most of the definitions were platform oriented. Everyone who “gets” social media marketing strategy understands that platform should be the last decision when planning a campaign, not the first.

So, in my usual fearless fashion, I developed my own. Here it is. I’d welcome all comments and suggestions!

Social media marketing is business use of selected social media channels to understand customers and to engage them in communication and collaboration in ways that lead to the achievement of ultimate marketing and business goals.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ways to Engage Your Customers

I recently ran across a video that’s too good not to share. In fact, it’s so good that it got me thinking about ways in which businesses are engaging their customers. Just thinking didn’t do me much good; all I came up with was the usual suspects, from uploading photos and videos to running contests.

First I took a look at Super Bowl 2011. Not ready to hear about the Super Bowl yet? Neither am I, really, but if you are going to do a social media promotion you have to start early. What I found was a list of contests:

Doritos is back with what appears to be the 5th year of “Crash the Super Bowl” video contest according to a good post on how these things are run.
• Pepsi concluded its not-for-profit effort from last year and is running a video contest off the same “crash” site; good leverage
• Go Daddy, famous for over-the-top ads, is running a contest this year. Wonder what kind of entries they will get??
• This one is worth including for Troy Polamalu’s hair alone, although the sweepstakes appears to be more tied to the NFL season than to the Super Bowl.

• GM is giving weekly winners tickets to the Super Bowl and one Sierra Denali pickup. Seems to me they would have gotten more brand buzz if they had reversed that, but I guess even Super Bowl tickets are cheaper than a truck, even if you are GM!

Then fast forward to today. Just as I was beginning this post I saw an article on Subway’s new Facebook based-promotion. It is described as “a new crowd-sourced entertainment program… dubbed Subway High School Heroes.” At its heart it is a contest to nominate people who have been influential in the lives of teens—a worthy endeavor—but it has entertainment elements beyond the usual contest. Check it out.

Back to my starting point. The Tipp Experience video has been achieved viral status this fall. While that’s difficult to do, if you’ll just take a minute and play (with) this video, you’ll see the heights consumer engagement can reach!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Business Thought and Practice Met at Combi2010

The October 7-10 conference in Vantaa, Finland, hosted by Laurea University of Applied Sciences was successful and enjoyable. The official theme was “Partnering for the Future.” The emphasis was on innovation of all kinds; in economic development and environmental sustainability partnerships, in business models of all kinds, and in distance teaching and learning. The audience was diverse and fulfilled the promise of extensive participation of both practitioners and academics.

The emphasis on innovation was timely as evidenced by an editorial I read in the Financial Times enroute. Discussing the global economic malaise, it argued that monetary policy has used up many of its available tools. Fiscal policy is moribund; consider the strikes and protests in Europe as governments try to impose structural changes and the fact that the political system in the US doesn’t have a coherent thought about fiscal policy. The point was that we have to innovate ourselves out of the economic mess we’re in. A talk by Dr. Toshiyasu Ichioka of the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation illustrated some of the possibilities.

Referred papers were presented in concurrent sessions, so it wasn’t possible to hear them all, but you can see the entire schedule here. I was particularly impressed with a paper entitled “Environmental Strategy and Organizational Capabilities: An Exploration of the Natural-Resource-Based View with a Focus on Columbian Firms” by Professors Mantilla and Rodriguez. It had a sound research design and good data that suggested a real difference between firms that include environmental sustainability as part of their strategy and those who do not. Innovative communication models were discussed in a session on “Multisensory Cultural Experiences” and another that featured faculty and doctoral students from the host institution, Laurea University of Applied Sciences. Read these and other papers in the Conference Proceedings.

It was a pleasure to hear an invited talk on customer co-creation of value by Professor Evert Gummesson, one of the originators of the services marketing discipline. I also particularly enjoyed a rousing call for “Stimulating Entrepreneurship and Creativity” from Professor Alan Barrell of Cambridge University.

As these few examples suggest, the conference was truly global in its scope. That is a major achievement and one that future conferences will hopefully be able to emulate. Next year’s conference will be hosted by HAMK University of Applied Sciences. Keep your eyes open; this conference is worth the time and effort!

Monday, October 4, 2010

ROI From Social Media Marketing

I'm looking forward to the Combi2010 Conference in Helsinki this week and to my own talk on social media marketing on Thursday. The plenary speeches are being broadcast live here. This is my presentation.

I've spent the early fall thinking about my next-stage writing plans. I'll have announcements to make when I return from Finland and a brief pleasure trip to Russia.

Should all be a great experience!