Thursday, 8 October 2009

What Click-Thru Studies Can Tell us About Early Experimentation with "Push Marketing" Tactics on Social Media

Comment on MediaPost to: "Share And Share Alike: Consumers Willing To Divulge A Little Will Divulge A Lot"

So, 're-framing' these latest statistics to turn them into 'actionable' marketing insights:
  1. People are willing to forgo privacy to get freebies, as they always were by, for instance, risking getting put on direct mailing list by submitting their home addresses to get coupons for brands they like. 
  2. Their willingness to risk privacy invasion is dissipated by brand recognition and the trust associated with brand familiarity.
  3. The majority (85%) of people online are very interested in brands, and in learning more about brands they like, as long as the brand info is relevant and/or entertaining. 
  4. Opting-in (voluntarily declaring a brand preference) builds commitment to a brand. 
  5. Frequent and valued (relevant and entertaining, i.e. not the same thing replayed endlessly) brand reminders build familiarity. 
  6. People don't like being manipulated by marketers (sent off someplace they weren't expecting/wanting to go). 
  7. When something is new, like a new technology (clickable ads or the newest social media), average folks are open to experimentation, trying new things out.
  8. As the novelty wears off people stop being sucked in by marketers largely 'push marketing' related tactics (ad clicks decreased from 32% to 16% over 2 years).
  9. A small group of risk-takers or heavy-users (could be labeled "geeks", "intensely curious industry insiders", "shopping channel addicts", or "niche users", the 8% responsible for 85% of all clicks) will interact with technology almost obsessively, driving up the apparent effectiveness of something that few people actually find very interesting (92% of average users responsible for 15% of click volume). 
What does all this tell us?

Internet behavior, when it comes to advertising-related stuff, is exactly the same online as offline -- in other words human nature has changed in no way since the arrival of the Internet. People never liked or wanted anything that resembles 'push marketing,' but they do like and want brands that cater to their interests and needs and they'll respond positively (willingly) to 'pull marketing' efforts.

New ('emerging') media like 'social media' will go through an initial period during which average people will allow unscrupulous and often breathlessly prophetic, evangelistic, entrepreneurial types who are essentially 'push marketing enthusiasts', to misuse the new media and make claims that it these media are the new broadcast channels, ripe for 'push marketing' efforts. Initial, 'trial experimentation' by consumers will give credence to the claims of these push marketers and will result in sufficient dollars being spent by enough sufficiently credible (popular) brands to undermine the long-term possibilities of using these media for genuine 'pull marketing' efforts.

The telephone is also a social medium, although one-to-one, but no one wants to be interrupted in the midst of a call by a marketing effort, nor do they want us using the phone to call them with a telemarketing effort (although about 8% of people out there will take 85% of telemarketers' calls...). If "social marketing" is ever truly going to become a viable tactic, it will have to be built around 100% relevant, useful, entertaining "PULL" efforts, without the faintest malodorous whiff of "push", I suspect.

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