Posts Tagged ‘consumers’

Seth Godin recently had a blog post titled “Fifty is the new thirty“. In it he validated his claim by offering up evidence of longer life spans and career activity. The point he made was that those that follow demographics were still ignoring older consumers, instead choosing to accept stereotypes perpetuated by those very same erroneous statistics. Bottom line: businesses that use age demographics to base their marketing on were missing out on potential customers by outright not addressing them.

If your marketing is based on psychographics this would not happen. Psychograpics targets Needs/Wants/Fears/Desires. It is attitude and viewpoint oriented. It can be used to inform and shape impressions of a product or service. There is no age or gender boundary. (Unless, of course the product/service is specifically designed that way.)

Pull your head out of the demographic rut and widen the marketing approach. Nobody succeeds by limiting themselves right at the beginning.

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Most of you are still snickering over the Twitter/Skittles debacle. Many of you recall the Motrin vs. Twitter/Blogging MomsĀ melee of last Nov. Some of you are paying attention to how Rush Limbaugh is dividing the Republican party. What do all of these have in common? No oversight or thought process given to programs/ campaigns/ PR.

We live in a world where the marketing paradigm has switched over the last few years. At first marketers were giddy that they could use the Internet for viral purposes. Steadily the consumer began to find their voice and by Web 2.0, consumers were your marketing partners whether you liked it or not.

Many businesses, and I include many large businesses, are still wrestling with that and trying to get a handle on social media. This is why you just can’t throw out Skittles on Twitter and hope that it’s going to take off. No thought was given, so is it any wonder things went south? (They switched to Facebook, but haven’t really changed things enough to be a success. It just tied off the blood loss.)

Motrin made the mistake of placing too much emphasis on a knee jerk reaction from a few vocal online individuals and pulled a marketing campaign. First, why would you not test this out for adverse reaction in the first place? Second, if you did, but came to the conclussion that the negative reaction would be small enough to risk running it, then why wasn’t there a contingency plan? Neither of those were taken into account, but that’s really not the worst of it. The campaign wasn’t horrible, just the way Motrin handled the negative reaction. They didn’t get any real feedback, assuming that the vocal few made up a large group. (Shades of the moral majority, mommy bloggers.) They didn’t know anything about Twitter or the blogs the few had, so they assumed the worst when presented with them. Instead, how about educating yourself and engage these people? Placate the loudmouths so they can’t start a groundswell of any kind.

Then there’s the mouth of the Republican party, Rush Limbaugh. Like him or not, he makes a living shilling for the party. He’s savy enough that when he gives speeches he concocts sections that he knows the media will extract to use. Yet, this knowledge of the very media he’s a part of doesn’t stop him from shooting his mouth off and further dividing the party.

All of these instances and more could be headed off with proper thought leadership. An outside, independent view of business matters so that the right hand does know what the left is doing. Someone that points out when things dilute your brand. A voice that keeps things on point. Some common sense when dealing with the ever evolving online world. (That translates into how to deal directly with customers as well. Ironic that customer service errodes as business becomes more interactive than ever before.) An entity that serves as armor for a business. (With the economic downturn many are cutting services to increase the bottom line, but they’re doing it across the board, often leaving themselves vunerable to a keener competitor. So really, the entity as armor keeps the business from hurting itself.)

This entity needs to be free of the politics that bog down good ideas and stifles the checks and balances that are needed when businesses go forward with management/marketing concerns. It can’t be hampered in calling out problems or insisting on testing or research before putting something before the public. That’s the kind of thought leadership that puts businesses ahead. One that’s not afraid of pointing things out in the mirror and asking for a correction.

After all, when you go out, don’t you do the same thing? And when you straighten that tie, smooth that dress or fix your hair, aren’t you glad you did? Sometimes though, you don’t catch everything and someone calls your attention to it before you go out the door. Now aren’t you twice as glad?

There was an interesting article on the Ad Age site this week. It basically said that marketers had no business on social networks. I think the jury is still out on that and, as with everything, it depends on the usage.

First, the problem: Social networks attract large groups of people. More so now that the activity has jumped beyond the high school/university crowd. This is precisely why marketers are interested. Large groups of easily demographed potential consumers. Marketers love that the search engines on these sites allow them to find specific targets. (More so on MySpace and Facebook, but the niche social sites allow for good leads as well.) So, with all of this material provided to them, and the sites under pressure to turn a profit, marketers take this new avenue,…and do precisely what they do to everything else. They try to find a way to cram an ad down your throat.

It comes down to marketing noticing Web 2.0 but not really understanding it. Things move forward and they see a new delivery route instead of trying to think of what it is they deliver. All they are really doing is forcing people off of the well known sites and onto something newer and not as likely to be targeted. (Yet)

The solution: Web 2.0 puts the power in the consumer’s hands. Ad blitzkreigs are not as effective because more people are turning to this delivery system for their entertainment, communication and education. They are able to tune out the ads. Instead, now is the time to woo consumers by actually proving to them that you DO SOMETHING. That’s why blogs are important to businesses. You have to prove yourself. Give something of interest or value. For social networks it may be a sponsored application or some other new tool of value for the site. If people like it, they’ll remember who provided it, the value to themselves and make the connection to the company when they are in consumer-mode for the product or service represented. The same old ways are not going to work. Follow the lead of our new President-elect. Change.