ITWeb Social Media Summit 2012
Submitted by Fri, 08/24/2012 - 00:00on
Around 80 delegates attended the ITWeb Social Media summit in Bryanston, Johannesburg last week. A fairly well-attended event, by my estimation, with personally notable talks by Andy Hadfield, Walter Pike, Craig Rodney & Heidi “Rhymes with Lady” Brauwer, my key take outs were as follows: (in retrospect, these are all fairly common sense, aren’t they?)
- The marketing landscape is undergoing a fundamental shift. Generation Y is coming into the marketplace with generation Z to follow. Traditional marketing business models no longer hold any water and marketers will have to fundamentally change the way they think and operate in order to adapt to this new social environment.
- “Silo-sitis” (credit to Heidi for the term) is a disease that needs to be cured within most corporate environments. Social media is an engagement across multiple business departments (PR, customer service, content & marketing) and serious collaboration is required in order to communicate to the modern consumer effectively and timeously.
- Content is key. Attention is the currency of the social web & your content needs to be valuable enough to warrant a customer ‘paying’ with their attention.
- An extreme example of this is Red Bull. They have evolved to a point where their content creators are now a separate entity entirely - Red Bull Media House - and they are now producing hour-long ‘adverts’ (see The Art of Flight) and the crazy thing is consumers are actually paying hard-earned cash to watch them! (or downloading them illegally, of course J)
- Brands are defined by what consumers feel about them. This is not a new concept, and hasn’t changed over time, but what has changed is the extent to which a marketer is able to influence these feelings. No longer can marketers simply tell consumers what their brands are, consumers are listening more and more to what others tell them about brands. I forget the exact stat but something like 67% of purchase behaviour is driven by peer recommendation. (& very often these peers are complete strangers!) What a scary concept for marketers to have to relinquish this previously-held control…
- Social is not a broadcast medium. Stop talking AT your customers and start talking WITH them.
- Look beyond the vanity metrics such as likes and number of community members, as these can be misleading. Rather look at engagement and action as your measure of success.
Having sat through the presentations by both agencies and industry thought leaders over the 2 days, I saw a lot of the success stories - such as the Google Rebrief Project, the KLM Surprise campaign - (and some rather humorous #brandfails too!) But I think as marketers, it’s very easy to get swept up in the creative concepts and the shiny end goal because we live in this technological age that’s enabling us to do things that have never been done before. And what marketing director doesn’t revel in the afterglow of a well-executed and well-received campaign? It is however, all based on some form of technology and what sits behind that technology is data. Lots and lots of Data. Some of the other speakers alluded to its existence and potential importance, but nobody really addressed the topic of data head on. And in the dealings I’ve had in the marketplace, my opinion is that most Marketers are missing a trick here too.
A common question through the 2 days was this - Once you have followed the guidelines in the bullet points above, successfully created a community and initiated a dialogue, what do you do then? The typical approach of high impact campaigns every few months is not going to cut it, I’m afraid. If that is your approach, you will see the expected spikes of engagement, but with no follow through, there is a natural atrophy effect over time as people become bored and move on. Sure, your true brand advocates will still be around, but you’re not really moving the needle and growing that base. In order to do that, you need to keep that engagement going in between the big high impact campaigns to truly grow that engaged audience. And I hope that this is where my presentation hit a sweet spot in that these ongoing engagements can only be made relevant through the leveraging of data within something like a Data Management Platform (DMP) Where you can clearly identify those that are engaging with you, augment your knowledge of them through your other channels (even offline) and then re-engage them through either these other channels (such as email, search or adserving) or even directly back within the social environment. These messages can be tailored for relevance to make the customer feel they are being heard & understood. And what happens when customers are feeling the love? Well then marketers regain some of that elusive ability to influence…
It’s no doubt an exciting time to be a marketer. It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution and the time is not in the coming months and years, the time is now.
"In today’s world, marketers and advertisers persistently seek out new and innovative ways in which to interact with the user. Whilst the typical smart phone or tablet user desires fast processing, high data speeds and well-designed operating systems, they expect high quality pictures and video playback.”
Gerhard Swart,Digital Acquisition Services