Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Social Media: Retro Vs. Modern Marketing

50's Flasback!  Retro Marketing Meets Modern Media!
Friends of mine have been sending me photos of themselves transformed into different decades.  They urged me to go to and do the same.  You can see the result above.  I came away from the social media pasttime with two thoughts. 

1) I am positive that the 50's were definitely not my best hair decade.
2) Traditional direct marketers have to take a lesson from social media marketers- a lesson in "touchpoints".
3) Let's not forget our traditional marketing methods no matter how "square" they make us feel.

Touchpoints - repeatedly making your product or service accesible to the consumer using more than one marketing medium.  In traditional direct response channels we consider touchpoints to be TV and radio commercials, call centers, catalogs, direct mail pieces, etc.  In the social media world touchpoints are endless and even better- strategically convienent.

While I was creating my 1950's image this website was quitely feeding me fun facts on fashion with links to online clothing and accessory stores.  The stores themselves had little to do with the 50's (Old Navy, Abercrombie Fitch, Urban Outfitters) but I remember thinking, "Oh, I wonder if these stores are carrying retro styles?"  It was enough to make me click to find out.  And it was a good thing I did because I saved 30% on an non-retro outfit and had it sent to me with free shipping... but I digress...

When you consider the response rates of our traditional touchpoints, like direct mail pieces, you can hope for a .8-3% response on the customer list.  And a response rate means that the customer will call your 800# or visit your website but it does not always result in a sale.  Our touchpoints are limited to our databases or the lists that we buy.  Our touchpoints can be interpreted by our customers as annoyances (outbound calls, junkk mail, spam).  Our touchpoints are limited.  In the social media world the consumer can be exposed to your product in an unlimited number of ways.  My discovery of online stores while using a silly Facebook App is just one example.  With the viral nature of the internet your customer database is never ending.    This means that even at .8% you are getting alot of people's attention.

As you gather your customers through proven methods such as TV, radio and print consider how your are remarketing to them to encourage future purchases.  Are you reaching out to them enough?  And when you reach them are they annoyed or are they having a casual and fun interaction?  Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online video are just some of the tools that social media marketers utilize to grab customers.  You should consider your product/service and how they fit into these online mediums but let's not abandon our roots!

Here are few ideas on how to take some retro marketing mediums and give them a modern day twist.

1. Run radio spot ads that drive directly to a website with an interactive game/survey/prize that links to your microsite.  Instead of telling listeners to call and order now ask them to click and have some fun.  While they are havig fun expose them to your product and convert them.  You may not convert as many customers as you would when they know they are calling to order but with the right interaction you could quadruple response and make it up in volume.  These spot ads are very cost effective.

2. Instead of sending out a traditional catalog or postcard to encourage reorders experiment with sending them an invitation to join your product's Fan page or Twitter feed. (this is easier if you have their email addresses)

3. Reconsider using a tradtional outbound call center to call your customer list and try a different approach when you dial.  Tell your customers that if they a) log on to your website within the next 2 hours they will get a free gift b) if they log on to the product's Fan page and download the brochure on a new product they will get a free bonus c) if they have a friend call back a special 800# they will get a major discount or bonus.  Be creative and make sure that no matter what the customer's response is on the phone they feel entertained not bothered.

When you consider the endless ways to take our retro marketing strategies and infuse them with new social media strategies the possibillities are endless.  BUT... and it's a big one...

According to an August 2009 survey by Mzinga and Babson Executive Education, 86% of professionals in a variety fields said that they have adopted social media in some way.  GREAT!  The survey also stated 84% of respondents said they don’t currently measure the ROI (return on investment) of their social media programs. Even less encouraging, more than 40% of respondents said they didn’t even know whether they could track ROI from their social tools. YIKES!  This makes us traditional direct response marketers cringe in our bobby socks...

Where I believe we can be more successful in the inevitable intergration of traditional and social media is that we live and die by the ROI.  We already know how to track this wihtout a doubt.  By setting up these touchpoint campaigns with measurment tools we will be able to see our touchpints translate into sales dollars much faster. So as you get more familr with social media make sure you don't abandon what has worked for decades because social media responses can be tracked by clicks, 800#s, and carefully structured media plans. 

So c'mon... let's have some fun figuring out how to get your customers excited about your product again.

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