Marketing plans and programs are often based on assumptions. In other words, marketers draw up the order of battle based on what we think customers and prospects are doing, or will do, in response to a message.
To be clear, these aren’t just random guesses, but rather calculated risks. It’s mix of both art and science including data, history, social science and experience. There are of course templates for analysis, continuous efforts to improve and variables marketers can’t control.
The single largest variable is the target audience. The audience, or the people formerly known as the audience, is getting a vote in marketing like never before.
Where the choices were once to vote simply by ignoring a promotion, the variety of channels marketing used today enable choices ranging from indifference to ad-blocking to providing negative feedback.
Join me, T-Mobile’s CEO, because the only thing worse than not following me on Twitter is being inside an AT&T store.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) March 7, 2016
Audience Votes in Paid Social
A clear example of this can be found paid social media such as this T-Mobile promoted tweet published in the account of the company’s CEO. There are more than 6,000 reactions at the time of this writing, not counting the commentary from the community.
It’s well worth a few minutes to peruse the commentary.
The commentary includes cheerleading, insults, complaints and inquiries. Perusing even a few of these demonstrates how this isn’t a company spending a few bucks to promote a tweet – there’s an enormous effort behind it:
- Marketing for the strategy and budget
- PR team to triage insults, prevent crisis and foster cheerleading
- Customer support to manage complaints
- Sales to facilitate leads and sales
- Legal to fret over the risk (and this would make me nervous)
Of course, the CEO is involved too. John Legere is highly responsive and even gives out his email address.
It is in many, executive recognition, that whatever strategies, tactics program or cultures we foster in marketing, the customer or prospective customer is always a variable.
It’s the audience that’s the theme for this week’s Unscripted Marketing links. While it’s always been central to marketing, digital media is enabling the audience to shape the future of marketing.
Promoted tweet. Read the comments. Holy moly there’s a lot going on here. Audience gets a vote in paid social. https://t.co/Hvod0S6G9d
— Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong) May 24, 2016
1. Producing Content for Peers Rather than Ideal Customer
Audience identification is the first step to producing content – who they are, what need and how to reach them. In this piece, Marcus Sheridan delivers sage advice with his trademarked simplicity:
“Generally speaking, there is a big difference in writing for your industry peers than writing (or producing content) for paying customers in your space…If you did an audit of your content right now, what percentage is for your ideal client, and what percentage is for your peer group?”
2. The Difference between a Specialist and Strategist
A few years ago, I wrote that social media strategists would be gone soon. That idea drew honey and venom, which is usually a good indication of being onto something. I think I was wrong about that after reading this post by Scott Monty. It got me to thinking, maybe social media strategists never existed:
“A specialist is an order-taker. A strategist is an adviser. A specialist can tell you about one thing. A strategist can find the intersection of many things.”
3. Everything You Know about Branding is Wrong
It may be more than just what we know about branding that is wrong – but perhaps everything from audience engagement to customer upselling. This thought provoking article challenges conventional business wisdom like it’s more cost effective to upsell an existing customer than finding new ones.
“In essence, the newer findings indicate that, in most categories, customers buy out of habit and engage in minimal mental processing when deciding which brands to buy: that is, they follow a “do, learn, feel” behavior that is quite the opposite from what Aaker and his contemporaries have suggested. The newer findings also show that a brand’s market share is most often driven by market penetration rates, not strong customer loyalty (i.e., attracting more customers is generally more effective than convincing current customers to purchase more often). Finally, the newer findings demonstrate that customers in most categories typically engage in choice-seeking behavior, rendering ineffective the targeting of particular market segments for many products and services.”
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