While building a new media effort needs to follow the same rules of relevance and effectiveness that marketing follows, you also need to understand that new media has forever changed the rules of marketing.
When engaging in a marketing effort, companies map out their product strategy, and the audiences that they want to market to. The more successful organizations do their homework about the people they are trying to reach so they can understand their needs as buyers. Marketers then employ a number of communications tactics to reach the potential buyers they identified to prompt action. They create measurements to determine the success of these efforts, then launch a campaign.
Truly exceptional marketing campaigns make strong products and services sell quicker and bad products fail faster. All of this still applies to the new media world, except the speed is different -- here it's at warp setting -- and the focus is on the community, not you or your product/service. This is part of the advice Geoff Livingston gives executives and entrepreneurs in his upcoming book Now is Gone.
- Focus on the community's interests -- not yours or those of your product/service
- Build value for the community -- stay relevant and on track with your content
- Decide up front who's going to do what -- especially content creation, this is vital
- Inspire your community by using new and interesting information -- provide a consistent flow
If you think about it, all of this still applies in marketing and public relations when executed superbly.
What is most usable and remarkable about this book is that it is written with its audience in mind and is based upon a solid foundation of the language, strategies and tools that practitioners know so well. At the same time, it manages to coach you through the mental shift required for the increasing role new media is playing in your customers' lives and decisions -- and to show you what to do about it.
Because the book is filled with solid marketing and communications advice, I used it as a basis for my post at The Blog Herald where I share with readers how to market their blogs as a company would. So you have an opportunity to explore the very same issues as explained to an audience already using these tools. In other words, practice makes perfect and all is still very much in flux.
The seven principles of social media communications outlined in the book are:
- Relinquish message control -- this is going to be a tough one to let go, I know. Yet if you think about it relationships are based more on conversation, this is what we're talking about here.
- Honesty, ethics, and transparencies are a must -- I like to be in the human relations business before anything else, what about you?
- Participation within the community is marketing -- think how much deeper and more fulfilling your conversations are when you actually decide to put aside the stuff that is in your head and dive into what the other person or people are saying.
- Communication to audiences is an outdated 20th century concept -- mass communication? Aren't we all different? Now people can talk back, and if you're not listening or absent, they will talk behind your back.
- Build value for the community -- the value-based approach is not new to you, I hope. The other side of this coin is the invaluable information you get back from people as you listen to and read what they care about.
- Inspire your community with real, exciting information -- where is the intrinsic value? I talked about that within the context of conversation in my very first post here. There is one that matches people's desires and concerns.
- Manage the media form with intelligence and you will build a community of people who become very loyal to you -- calls to action and direction are still valid. If you're reading this post, I hope you find it compelling enough to buy the book. Better yet, buy copies for your team and for your agency.
Results are an outcome of these activities. Southwest Airlines' blog is a great case study in how this works -- the airline has garnered $150 million in ticket sales from its widget, which is part of the company's social media mix. If you wish to learn more about new media and seek a better way to articulate the role of new media in the marketing mix, this book is just right for you. It comes with a bonus introduction by Brian Solis.
Is your company thinking about introducing social media to the mix? Do you have a success story to share? You may also propose what a success story would need to be for you to use new media in your mix. How would you establish what to measure? And here's the million dollar question -- how would you measure it?