Welcome to 2009, the Year of Engagement, Social Marketing and Web 2.0, Part 2 of 2
This week, I continue my look at the trends that'll shape multichannel marketing in 2009, in particular how social media and customer reviews can benefit your business.
(For part 1, click here.)
Adapt or Die!
Clearly, the way to adapt to changes in the marketplace is to get out in front of the wave. It’s not too late, so don’t fret if you're not. As a direct marketing consultant, I’m in the same boat. With a background steeped in the more traditional direct marketing principles, I need to be more on the cutting edge, too. In the last year, I've become enamored with social media as a marketing tool and its potential to engage.
What Are You Waiting For?
I conducted an informal survey over the past few days on how catalog/multichannel marketers have integrated social media into their overall marketing mixes. Here’s what I found:
- Half of the catalog/multichannel companies I surveyed had MySpace pages and/or Facebook groups.
- Only one was tweeting away on Twitter.
- I didn’t see much blogging or message board adoption.
- Usage of Flickr and YouTube didn’t even register a hit.
These results dovetail with a recent poll we ran on CatalogSuccess.com. For the poll results, click here.
Compared to another group I looked at, pure-play Internet retailers (let's call this the control group), catalogers' social marketing adoption was minimal.
So why is that? The biggest concern I hear from catalog/multichannel marketers is negative publicity around their brands, which brings us back full circle to our control issues and the whole concept of customer centricity.
Ask yourself the following questions about what kind of role social media plays in your business:
- Are you afraid of negative publicity? If you are, why? Do you not want to find out what your customers are talking about? Or what you can do to fix or improve your company? If you bury your head in the sand, the ruthless truth is your customers will bury you. Like the proverbial Chinese alphabet character for “danger” having the same meaning as “opportunity,” now is your chance to become truly customer-centric — to finally understand by listening to the Internet chatter about your company.
- If you're using social marketing within your business, is it just a tactic? Are you using it strategically to understand your customers? I'd guess the big question here is this: Does the data/information the marketing team obtains from its social outlets trickle up to the C-level executives?
Maybe the new paradigm shift should be, “If you listen, they will come!”
Over the course of the next few weeks, I’ll begin to share what I've learned about social media. I’ll talk about Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn (mostly for B-to-B), Facebook (groups vs. pages), YouTube, Flickr, blogs, message boards, on-page ratings and reviews, and more — the strategies and tactics you need to know to build a customer-centric multichannel company.
And I want this to be a dialogue, because I'm not a social marketing expert by any means. It’s very much a trial and error process, and I hope to learn from you, too!
Start the ball rolling; post your comments below.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing, a full-service catalog and direct marketing agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert or you can post a comment here or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow Jim on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.