September 08, 2014

Social Media's Unintended Effect

The summer is unofficially over, but before it gets too far away, let's do some warm-weather, laying-out-under-a-tree, stream of semi-consciousness...

Social Media's Unintended Effect
Those with open minds and clear heads should by now have learned something very important about marketing from social media. We should have learned how weak consumers' attachments are to most brands.

The idea that people would go on line in large numbers and have "conversations" about toothpaste and toasters and cereal and soap and cheese and shampoo and tomato sauce and tuna and tea and tires and... has proven to be a fantasy. Those who still promulgate this baloney are guilty of more than just naivete.

People with a vested interest in social media will continue to misrepresent its power and effectiveness. It's time for the rest of the ad industry to come clean.

Great New Blog... my partner in the Type A Group, Sharon Krinsky, called The Angry Boomer.

Sharon is funny and bawdy and you don't have to be a baby boomer to enjoy her blog. You just have to be angry.

Her first post is called At Least We Know Where Our Vaginas Are. Yeah, it's that kind of blog.

People Don't Like Online Shopping 
One of the facts that always surprises me is that only 6% of retail activity is done on line. Contrary to all the predictions of "experts," according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 94% of retail activity still happens in brick-and-mortar stores.

As regular readers know, I have no use for self-reported surveys masquerading as research. Every now and then, however, self-reported behavior almost agrees with actual behavior. Such was the case recently in a study reported in Forbes. The finding was this:
“Ninety percent of shoppers surveyed would prefer to buy in a brick-and-mortar store across demographic and age groups” 
Like we say here at The Ad Contrarian Worldwide Headquarters (way too often), marketers always underestimate the power of traditional consumer behavior.


Charlotte said...

The unintended effect of social media is having a conversation about ESPNs fantasy football site going down last night during the Big Game. If there’s anything I’ve learned at my advanced age, social media is where (once you get past the ranting) you find some of the funniest comments written. Politician caught in a public restroom doing something not so political - go to Twitter and share.

Bob, since you only write three times a week, I have to turn to Twitter after a national disaster, as we experienced last night, for witty conversation. But hey, I have Sharon now. I’m having my next conversation with her.

And about shopping: I hate shopping. Anywhere. Except for Amazon where I plan to buy your next book.

ForCryingOutLoud said...


Dan Plant said...

On the topic of online shopping, I think things vary by market. It sounds like the US has had particularly slow take-up of online shopping, but then you guys still use cheques (checks?) to pay for stuff, so maybe there is more of a culture of caution around this stuff in the US. In the UK, I think that we are around 12% of all retail sales, which clearly isn't huge, but it is much higher for certain categories. Even at this level it has had a decimating effect on the British high street where numerous very well known brick and mortar operations have gone bust/into administration in the past 10 years due to their inability to compete with their online counterparts (See Woolworths, Borders, HMV, Blockbusters, GAME, Blacks, Jessops) We are seeing whole town centres that are becoming ghost towns because there are no proper shops left other than pound stores and betting shops.

I guess the point is that even a small shift in consumer behaviour can have a much more dramatic economic effect and so should not be dismissed too lightly.

bob hoffman said...

Good point. I always expected online shopping to be more popular in US and expect it will continue to grow as paying online becomes easier

LisaB said...

Broadband is cheaper and faster in the UK than in the US as well as more ubiquitous. The US has always shocked me with it's technological obsolescence and slow speed of adoption

LeShann said...

Online shopping is even stronger in China than the UK. It can greatly improve physical availability in the market.

And as you point out, it entirely depends on the category. Personally there are plenty of things I won't bother going into a shop to buy anymore - and they usually happen to be things I spend a lot of money on.