From today's MediaPost:
Much has been made of the ability of social media to help brands connect with consumers in new and deeper ways -- to establish a "dialogue" with users through various interactive tools that blend seamlessly into their online activities. But a new study suggests the key to engagement on social properties comes down to old-fashioned direct marketing techniques like offering discounts and special promotions.
"Based on our research, it's not so much about some type of 'shared passion' for a brand's values. Largely, it's about deals -- pure and simple," states the 2009 FEED report from Razorfish examining consumers' digital habits and attitudes.Consumers are using marketing efforts in 'social media' to get discount coupons and participate in promos/contests. That's it. They are not suddenly becoming lifelong 'fans' of Windex or Heinz ketchup, despite what the zealots might be claiming.
'Social marketing' is not the new Scientology religion for building lasting brand loyalty, it's a coupon distribution and contest promo tool. Build a cute Facebook app that allows consumers to sign up for your brand's contest faster or delivers a 'newest flavor' 15%-off coupon to them and you've accomplished the mantra of 'provide consumers real value through Marketing 2.0's new sharing/social technology'.
What is really worth shifting marketing dollars to is where the underlying STRATEGY of 'engagement' is naturally going to lead marketers. But you've all read me ranting on about that already. "The More Marketing Changes, the More It Stays the Same"