aka: do stuff that matters to the people who actually matter.
I’ve been thinking recently about what is wrong with most Social Media marketing efforts. At the Web 2.0 conference in San Fransisco Peter, Jeremy and Charlene gave their opinion about how to fix this.
The Owned Bought and Earned Media mix model has been useful for explaining why we need to move away from just buying media space, but it sometimes causes people to focus on the quantity of buzz, rather than the quality. The dreaded plague of viral marketing is a symptom of this way of thinking, where size of audience is everything. Consumer engagement is outdated if the aim is just reach: in that case it is really no different to the old PR models.
I’ve said before that great WOM marketing is actually not focused on the creation of buzz. Buzz should be the by-product of running a company in the right way, treating people right and making happiness your business model.
I’ve also been thinking about brands as planets, which do or do not have strong gravitational pull within their given universe. Let me explain…
The diagram above shows how people get more valuable to your company as they get closer to the Core.
At the Core are employees: obviously vital to an organization, they should be your number one priority. The companies that do things right end up with an internal army of excited advocates.
Then there are rings of customers who start with the most loyal and vocal Advocates and the Fans. These people have strong emotional attachment to your brand. Marketing effort should be spent cultivating relationships with these people, energizing them, nuturing relationships between them.
At the outer ring is the gaseous layers of Flirts who may be buying from you infrequently, but they are disloyal and mostly indifferent to you. Bringing them closer to the Core is hard work, but building up too many of them creates a big empty brand lacking in Emotional Density.
Prospects float around on the outside, currently unattached to your brand emotionally. But, ironically, most marketing efforts are focused on them, rather than on the existing customers.
By focussing on the centre of this planet – by making your marketing deeper and more engaging – you are strengthening the bonds at the Core and giving your planet higher density.
Higher Emotional Density means more gravitational pull … more Social Gravity.
From a brand perspective you’re better off to reach out to as many existing fans as possible (these people already have a built in incentive to talk about you) and give them more reasons and tools to talk about you in a genuinely favourable way