The Art of Marketing: Social Media and Word of Mouth

Continued from here.

Seth Godin on “Leadership and Creativity”

Advertising is about interrupting as often as possible average people with our average product. As long as we make more than we spent on production, media, etc., the cycle continues: ads  —–> distribution —–> profit   (and back around again). If you are going to interrupt everybody, then you better sell something everybody wants.

Now there are 30K products in a supermarket and 17K new ones introduced each year. Previously, there were four television channels. Now there is satellite radio, Comcast, Facebook (where everybody is their own channel), etc.

In the past, ads didn’t have to be good. You just needed to buy a lot of them.

Remarkable means worth making a remark about. Creating something that somebody wants to talk about it the toughest adjustment for people to make.

Rather than mass-market, you have to make something for a specific sub-segment. Permission is the only asset that you can build now. You won’t get opt-ins for an average product.

Anticipated, personal, relevant. Somebody has to pick you. 

There have been four revolutions in recent history.

  1. Cheap energy (175 years ago)
  2. Cheap output from factories
  3. Cheap media
  4. Cheap connections

Think about what is more scarce? Who’s willing to listen?

This leads to tribes. We like being in common, in synch and aligned with the group. In politics, people often vote for the winner versus the candidate we wanted.

Do you have to invent something or just show up to lead? Ask yourself, who is my tribe? Freaks and weirdos are better markets because normal doesn’t want to hear from you. Instead, you have to go to the edge.

Here’s an exercise: hold your hand up as high as you can. Now reach a little higher. Hey, what’s up with that? The reality is that we have been taught to hold back a little because our experience is that someone is just going to raise the bar on us.

Marketing much of the time is just repetitive, flatulent and not art. Careers of the future are “art”—not where someone tells you what to do all day.

Authentic human work touches people, solves problems. Art is required in the connection economy.

There is no map for marketing—then it would not be art. Competence is no longer a commodity. If I can write it down, I can get it done cheaper than you. Figure out new ways to engage and interact. To win, you must innovate.

If “failure is not an option,” neither is success. After all, the guy who invented the ship invented the shipwreck.

If someone tells you what to do, it is not art. The best thing you can do is figure out how to do art in front of someone else to make them better. There is an element of generosity to art.

Don’t strive to be heard when you’re here; work to be missed when you are not.

If you act like sheep; it is “their” fault. If you do something different; it is your fault. Your job isn’t a job; it’s a platform to touch, connect, create art and more.

Give gifts, connect and lead. Have a passion to change everything. Accept that art is always a little dangerous.

In a service business, there is even more agility to change and degrees of freedom versus retooling a factory. For example, you should change you web page every hour. If you are ever done, you’ve given up.

People are using their increasing wealth to get weirder or, in fact, more like ourselves.

Gary Vaynerchuk on “Branding and Word of Mouth Marketing”

Social media sells nothing. Stop marketing like it is 2002—it’s 2012. We are in the attention-getting business. What is remarkable is when we care about the customer today.

Twitter search is the most powerful marketing tool. Yet only three people in the room said they use twitter search to find themselves/their companies daily!

It is hard to think about end users at scale. Go back to small town rules. Your grandparents were better poised to succeed in this environment than you are.

Content is king but context is god.

All of the content created from the beginning of time until 2003 is replicated every 48 hours now. What breaks through is engagements and mentions. Stop pushing and pull.  Word of mouth is one-to-one marketing at scale.

Communication itself has been disrupted with social, mobile, internet. Communication is how things get sold.

Marketers ruin everything (e.g., taking email frequency from once per month to once per day; going from one Groupon sign-up to multiple deal sites/emails per day).

98% of people are acting like 19-year-old men and trying to close on the first engagement. Social is only part of the media mix. Traditional marketing is good; it just has a high cost and is coming from a different place.

To have customers care about you, you have to care about them first. Customer service as an offensive marketing move is very much in play.

Amazing products are important but it is better to have working media and shift to people to engage real users and build communities. Relationships are the last asset companies will have and they should be owned not rented like ad pages, billboards, etc.

Real identity is coming. With Twitter streams, Facebook streams, Pinterest streams and more, we can connect with customers on human interests beyond just what they buy from us.

We lived through the big box era and it is over. Now we will move into fragmentation. Take the money from Super Bowl ads and put it into people—human assets to engage and build relationships.

Consumers today have high B.S. meters because we’ve been marketed to so aggressively for so long.

Mitch Joel on “How to Reboot Your Marketing in a Connected World”

Control, alt, delete—reboot marketing.

Direct relationships

Does your business, your partner or Facebook own the direct relationship with your customers? There is a race for likes. Fight to have the right to have a direct relationship with the consumers. Ideally, this should be from cradle to grave.

Sex with data

Traditionally, data has been linear but we have to become circular (social). We have to do this and remain ethical.

There is a massive abuse of the word privacy. This is different than personalization. When asked, consumers want personal, targeted and relevant marketing but they don’t want to give up their privacy to allow us to do this. The Amazon price check app collects massive amounts of shopping data, intent and more. And you like it because it delivers something of value to you and a great experience.

Utility (or death)

The most valuable real estate is now the smart phone. 25% of branded apps are used once. This is because they are narcissistic versus useful.

Passive versus active

Social media has made traditional media is more active as a whole. When surveyed, 1 or 2% of people are passionate about work—they will own the world. Others are passive and don’t engage.

TV and radio are passive media. Facebook and Twitter are active if used the right way. Banner advertising is passive in an active medium. Of course, not everything has to be interactive.

One screen (not three or four)

The only one that matters is the one in front of the consumer. Today the internet synchs info to multiple screens.

Keyboards and mice will go away and the experience will become more human. Today, there are more iPads than PCs sold. There are also more smart phones than PCs sold. We will be completely mobile in less than two years and most companies are not ready. We are untethered and hyper-connected.

Think about your brand narrative. You can now tell stories about anything you’ve done but would people pay to see them?

Randi Zuckerberg on “Top Social Media Trends”

  1. Sharing economy. Despite challenging financial times, we still want to live a life of luxury. Now there are options to rent homes, rent designer dresses and rent private jets–all at significant discounts.
  2. Loyalty programs of the future. Instead of the standard discounts, companies are providing special experiences for their best clients. For example, Gilt Groupe allows those who like their Facebook page to preview items for one hour before they go on sale. Because merchandise often sells out within a few minutes, this is a distinct advantage for their loyal followers.
  3. People as platforms and media brands. Today, everyone is a media company and can reach all their friends. That is both good and bad for companies. The movie “Snakes on a Plane” debuted on Thursday and was dead at the box office by the weekend. But unknown movies can become huge hits thanks to the word of mouth.
  4. Crowd sourcing. has funded more projects than the National Endowment for the Arts. It also funded more films at the Sundance Film Festival than traditional film studios. Vitamin Water crowd-sourced a new flavor. Brands are using crowd-sourcing for philanthropy as well.
  5. Mobile first. For some companies, a website is a distant second thought to their mobile presence. They can actually exist only on mobile.
  6. People as curators. It used to be that you had to create something to be an expert. Now with Pinterest, you can just curate to provide value for people.
  7. Timelines for brands.
  8. Interest lists. You can create lists on Facebook and have people follow them.
  9. Subscription and appointment shipping. You can buy anything and have it arrive at your home. The reason these “fruit of the month clubs” and other programs are successful is that there is so much noise these days, many people want an expert to select and send them something good.
  10. Video and live streaming. If there is one thing you are not doing now, think about video. E-commerce is using video more.
  11. Gamification of everything. All the annoying things in life seem to becoming games. You can now get an app to check in and show you are visiting the gym. You can also broadcast your weekly weight. It’s a new kind of accountability for self-improvement programs.

Now that I’ve shared all this information, you have an inkling of the fast-paced, insightful and exciting speeches we heard at Art of Marketing in Chicago. I can’t tell you the last time I attended an event and forgot to check the time on my watch or phone. It was that good. And we all need a reminder now and then: what we are doing is an art and we should be passionate about it.

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

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