Zeus of Marketing

STOP!!! Social Media is NOT a Starting Point, Unless you are Using it to Listen and Monitor your Customers

September 18th, 2011

Stop, Think, Plan then Execute

Everyday I open up my email and proceed to read between 75 and 100 posts, articles and blogs on Social Media. Most I dismiss right away as shameless self-promotion, some have great nuggets of marketing wisdom but their social-media-end-all spin obscure the otherwise brilliant insight, few truly focus on how social media can enhance your marketing objectives and those are the ones I usually forward, tweet, share, etc. Lately,  I have noticed an increased number of the latter and this is getting me excited. Could it be true that after all the hoopla and hype we are finally coming back to basics?

I would like to share with you two recent articles that serve to remind us that it all starts with a strong customer insight, a brilliant marketing idea and flawless planning and execution:

PepsiCo Argentina:  PepsiCo is combining product sampling with storytelling in Argentina in an unusual vending machine that appears to manufacture Lay’s potato chips before your eyes after a real potato, rather than coins, is dropped in a slot.  This campaign starts with a strong consumer insight (chips are artificial) and aims to dispel this misconception via strong visuals, innovative product sampling and high value trial. Expected results: Measurable , it can easily track sales increases in vending retail locations.  It also leads to a high potential for Social Media amplification as video can be shared via YouTube, Facebook, etc. – Brilliant!!!! While Pepsi faltered for over a year with things like Pepsi Refresh – this shows that they are now getting “the real thing”

Mattel HotWheels USA:  Mattel’s marketing strategy  was to “activate boys of all ages” by making Hot Wheels culturally relevant again, says Gretchen de Castellane, the company’s senior manager for community and user experience. On the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, Mattel’s brand team sponsored a record-breaking stunt, catapulting a life-size “Hot Wheels” vehicle off a jump and sending it the length of a football field, partnered with ABC, who broadcast the stunt which in turn motivated viewers to share in Social Media. The stunt now has more than 6 million views on YouTube, and won Mattel 12,000 Facebook fans.

Net Takeaway

If you start from a Social Media end all perspective – chances are you will fail.  Having a Facebook page, tweeting 100 times a day or receiving a hundred likes per hour are definitely quantifiable but as a revenue generation metric they all fail miserably.  A thousand SEO experts and costly SEM software would never have helped Mattel create a viral Hot Wheels Video or PepsiCo think outside the box when it comes to product demonstration. What is the formula for success you ask?, as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Focus on your customer needs
  2. Develop a marketing strategy that fulfills these needs
  3. Execute

Social Media should not be ignored, it  greatly enhances step #1 if you use it to listen to and monitor your customers sentiments towards you and your competitors. Social Media can also speed up step #3 when you  have a clear knowledge of where your customers congregate in the vast universe of the worldwide web.

Where we usually fail is in thinking that the priority is developing a Twitter or a Facebook , or God forbid a Google + , strategy as many “pundits” want you to believe. You should focus on your consumer/customer first, develop an overall strategy and at the end determine the best channels to “broadcast” your execution – it may start with a Point-of-Sale vending machine as in PepsiCo´s case, or a partnership with a broadcast network as in Mattel’s case. You will not know until you go through the steps.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana



Entry Filed under: SCRM,Social Media

  • http://twitter.com/fraziermonty Montgomery Frazier

    Although I love the examples you cited from PepsiCo Argentina and Mattel Hotwheels regarding these American corporate institutions’  clever, but gimmicky social media responses to their customers “concerns”, they are still faceless corporate entities in my book!   They continue to spend millions and millions of dollars each year on market research to make billions and billions more in profits globally…..and for what?…..to show that potato chips are made from potatoes!  How revolutionary!

    Why don’t they spend that money on issues that really affect our lives…now that I would buy into! 

    Plus, what about the “little guys” who need social media networking to get the word out about their sometimes fledgling companies, services and products, who actually have a good, eco-friendly product that could enhance our lives, or contribute to our American productivity. 

    These mega-corporate conglomerates are still without merit in my book and their concerns are merely for their own profits and not for the concerns of their customers, or of society, or of humanity as a whole! I would suggest that you cite those kind of philanthropic corporate wunderkinds, if you can find any anymore!

    I get your point and although I love to make money personally, I am not on board with these expensive, overly marketed reactionary efforts and useless ploys to buy back their customers brand loyalty and I personally will not buy into the HYPE of their useless schemes!

    I’m sure I missed the point of this blog…..but I do always applaud your viewpoints and your zeal to inform your audience.

    Montgomery Frazier “The Image Guru”

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Frazier  – while I have not read anything specific on Mattel (and they should do something with all the “plastic” the put out there), I do applaud PepsiCo on their Performance with Purpose efforts. Not only they are focusing on ensuring a lower environmental footprint for their production but they are also helping worldwide agriculture processes to ensure better output efficiencies and self reliance amongst other initiatives (http://www.pepsico.com/Purpose.html)

      While I have criticized them on their Pepsi Refresh project from a marketing performance perspective, it did help many communities’ organizations.

      Other than that I do agree 100% that many large corporations should do a bit more – after all they do have a better performance record than anyone on “the hill”

  • Tom

    Social Media is just that, a medium to engage. Controlling conversations, as suggested is ludicrous and counterproductive. Let the public speak and breathe freely. It’s a marketers job to interpret the mood and emotions.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Tom – not sure if you are agreeing or disagreeing with me – just in case by listening and monitoring I mean the complete opposite from controlling – the key objective of these activities is to understand customer’s insights (of which moods and emotions are a large part of)

  • Maria Botta

    One the most important “use” of social media marketing is the ability to engage in an immediate 2 way conversation with your core consumer. It’s time that marketers use this potential and leverage it beyond the cheeky stunts…. Maria

  • Jose Luis Lopez

    Everything is a matter of customer needs.  Enable a frank conversation with him.  It is not social media, it is social business

    • Anonymous

      or her… exactly José – I like Social Business but also it represents the best CRM opportunity a marketer has ever had (SCRM)


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