Why should Social Marketing (re)start with strategy

Wherever we look, we find evidence that Brands get limited value from Social Media:

The main thing is that most marketers approach Social as just an extra channel to promote products and services defined … when social media did not even exist and with the same techniques and metrics as before.

But there is more into it, provided that marketers can challenge what used to know and really digest the paradigm shift that Social Media has brought to business, marketing and sales:

1- Social redefines markets

Markets is an information & mathematical construct. Markets are defined by commonalities between potential buyers.  Way back, very little was known about consumers. The best one could do was to define a market in terms of socio/geo/demo.

So, yesterdays markets were: women 25-30, divorced, urban, 2 dogs and shopping regularly at Macy’s, or  generic segments  such as High Income,  Gen Y.

However, as people engage in social networks:

– They share more information about themselves and this information becomes available  for segmentation.

– They develop connections. Clusters of people start to emerge that did not exist before social media.  They are actually the new types of markets.

Now markets can be defined as “Fitness moms”, ” Gamers passionate about First Person Shooting “, “Frugal”, “Green activists”, “Food lovers”, Parenting Moms”,  “49ers fans”, “Walking Dead addicts”, “Coupons hunters”, “People  concerned with climate change”,  Nerds, Bikers, “Republicans from Florida”, “Bird watchers”,  “Quantified self early adopters”,  “Americans living in Paris”,…. These definitions of markets are richer and more actionable. Some are niche and some large.

These markets are built by people self-organizing around content (blogs, youtube …) and though social connections. These tribes are visible and  form new opportunities for companies willing to offer products and services tailored to these “sociographies” and to take market share away from 20th century winners.

They offer perfect spots for new entrants and innovators.

2- These new markets are “conscious” &  powerful.

It is not just that these markets are new. The nature of these markets is also different. Actually very different.

When markets were defined by socio demo,  they were just collection of people with similar attributes. Period. Now people in these connected markets can talk to each other, engage,  share. Their IT infrastructure (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Youtube) is at least on par with the ones used by the big brands.

People within these markets also learned to communicate, engage, mobilize and some leaders even develop audiences that rival the ones of  mainstream media. They have  “community codes”, leaders , “social etiquette” and expectations around transparency and relevance that can no longer be ignored and yes they have moved a significant share of their TV time on mobile and social.

They are what some people called  “conscious market” and more often than not, they have the upper hand.

So what should brand do?

I wish I knew ;-).

Maybe read Augie Ray’s post again: http://socialmediatoday.com/augieray1/2321846/what-if-everything-you-know-about-social-media-marketing-wrong

And then start with STRATEGY (not listening, not engagement, not building FB pages with millions of followers, not social CRM) but strategy.

Assess the market.

Understand where the old “mass marketing” rules still apply and where change is imperative.  In the areas where you decide/are forced to change, restart from the beginning: Market analysis, new Segmentation, Product innovation (or validation), and then and only then build “social media” programs.











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