“We tried it, it didn’t work” – it could be you

In the 80’s, we would propose software solutions for companies to solve their issues. Many times we would hear them say that they tried the solution and it didn’t work. Rather than just move on, we would explore why it didn’t work. More often than not, we found that the full power of the solution or group of functions they needed where not explored.

Recently there has been a lot of press around large companies not getting out of social network marketing as they expected. Comparing the ROI to other media options for marketing, there is a feeling that they aren’t getting their money’s return. A coupon or special offer is pushed out and they aren’t showing up in their stores.

There are a few group buying or coupon sharing services that are hitting it big. These are working because people using the services are folks that already have their heads around using the services. What happens when a person not in that spot gets a coupon in an email for 10% off? They don’t know what to do with it… do they print the email? Do they search the email for a key phrase to use in the store? Do they have to click through to a site where they have to give personal information? If there is a coupon code to use, will they face possible embarrassment in the store when they ask for a discount they get wrong or there are particulars… again, should they print the email?

Not a single item above creates a positive experience for a possible customer. It doesn’t work. It isn’t the fault of the system, it’s time to rethink the whole marketing scheme. This doesn’t mean companies should jump on board with the many folks marketing online how they can sell, their job is to sell a system. There isn’t a ‘system’ that works for everyone. Think about who uses the service being used, now about the current customers. Even though the current customers may be moving to using the social service, their frame of mind is in that social frame of mind… not a newspaper coupon clipping.

Along with rethinking marketing, what is a real ROI? Is money being best spent with big promotions instead of ongoing mentions across the social landscape? Some big names have large followings which can be paid to mention a product. That might build hits but doesn’t mean purchases unless the person was already in a position to buy.

There needs to be a reason for a mention in Social Networking circles. Forget the coupons unless it’s a “50% off everything”. Even ‘click here’ to go to our site for a discount will have very low counts of people willing to go since they know they are being ID’d to the site and followed around… causing them to get more junk mail.

A system that worked in the 80’s physical store days is now proving to be valuable in a electronic social world is relationships. Marketing across other company’s promotions. Your email list is very valuable, particular to other companies. Join forces to do mailings of your products, mentioning other company’s tie to yours. You have a golf club company, you can’t say ‘buy these chocolates too’. But, you have a card printing service, you can mention that including chocolates with their customer card to their co-workers is always a hit. There is no discount involved. The win is that the Chocolate company got a reach they didn’t have before… the Greeting Card company doesn’t give up their client email list but they have people reading since there is additional information from a marketing pitch from them.

Customer lists are literally a reason companies are being purchased these days. Take good care of your lists, organize them with keywords to what the person purchased, how they purchased, if they came in via marketing and if they continue to order.

For movies that I am a Producer for, I never push the movie it’s self. Posts across my circle of influence are about who has mentioned they are going to be at a sneak showing, what is going on in the line, what is going on after the movie showing, tie ins to items within the movie. These all build interest as people can relate to their own lives. There is no mention of coupons or hype about what the movie is about.

This will be very hard for most marketing groups to jump on board with since they are generally asked to show ROI on everything they do. New measurements are required to prove what worked. Rather than throwing away anything that is thought as a ‘didn’t work’ do a tweak to it instead. Drive down the overhead of pushing information out via social networks doesn’t mean firing the marketing group but it does mean that marketing have to be very dynamic rather than six months of presentations to get anything kicked off. Don’t be insulting with social network marketing, but don’t be afraid to try new ideas!