December 06, 2011

First Comes The Sale. Then Comes The Social.

Now that I'm an Official Social Media Expert, I thought I'd give you a little lecture -- because that's what we Social Media Experts do. 

The subject of today's lecture is this: Where does social media marketing fit into the marketing "ecosystem." See, now I even talk like a knucklehead.

Social mediacrats, agency trendsetters, and marketing conference blowhards have been assuring us dumb bunnies for years that traditional forms of advertising are essentially extinct and social media is the future.

It has been my opinion that, professionally speaking, they're full of crap. I happen to believe that you have to be seriously demented to risk the future of your business on your customers' inclination to talk you up. Does social media lightning strike every now and then? Sure. But are you going to take gobs of money (like Pepsi did) and bet the house on it? Good luck.

Unless you've already built a strong social media foundation over a period of years, social media is mainly a good way to maintain healthy customer relations and provide your business with some nice sales promotion opportunities.

But it's important to keep reminding yourself that social media marketing is not magic and most of what is written and said about it is nonsense. There is very little evidence that it has much value as a brand builder or customer acquisition driver.

Of course, we are in a post-evidence world, and if enough pompous twits say something often enough and loud enough, it becomes truth.

According to the aforementioned twits, advertising has a new tripartite purpose -- to create engagement, to foster conversations, and to build communities. In other words, to support the allegedly new "social" nature of marketing.

Let's slow down and think about it for a moment.
  • When is the last time you were engaged with a product you hadn’t yet used?
  • When have you ever spawned a conversation about a brand you had no experience with?
  • When have you joined a community devoted to goods you’ve never tried?
The answer is, probably never.

That's because the twits have it all backward. Engagement, conversation and community don't lead to buying, they follow it. You don't recommend things you've never tried. Duh.

And that's why the purpose of advertising remains, as it has always been, to sell someone something.

First comes the sale, then comes the social.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm engaged in this blog and I havent bought anything from you yet. I have started conversations about you because I like what you are saying and Im writing this so...