Great analogy from the Feeding the Puppy blog: fireworks attract people, but bonfires are needed to sustain peoples’ interest.
To illustrate that this is far more than a simple metaphor, I will now transcribe to you a recent conversation I had with “Mr Adman”, who has been running marketing campaigns for many years:
Mr Adman: “We need to do some Word of Mouth. We need a 360 Social Media Plan, with a clear ROI. I want to be us to be in all the latest Social Media sites like Facespace and Twitty ASAP!”
Me: “Err… OK, how about we do this:
We put on an awesome and magical firework display to attract people, hopefully even make it cool enough for people to call up their friends and say ‘get down to the harbour, there’s an unbelievable firework display going on!’. We could even put up some cool posters to tell people it’s happening.
At the same time, we build a great big bonfire to keep people warm. We ask if there’s any refreshments people would like, and if so we can sell them some tasty snacks and drinks while they are there. (You can even call that ROI if you want.)
Of course we let people take part in building the bonfire. We’ll chat to people about what interests them. If it makes sense, we’ll bring up how our product might be useful to them, maybe even show them how it works. Then – since people don’t need chaperoning – we’ll make sure people have enough wood etc to keep the fire going themselves. We’ll encourage someone to take charge – it doesn’t have to be us. Maybe we’ll even leave a guitar or something so they can make their own entertainment.
Then we move on to another site to build another fire for another group of people. But we’ll check back regularly to make sure the original fire is still burning and ask if there is anything we can do to help.”
Mr Adman: “What about getting on Twitty and FaceSpace?”
Me: “If we do this well and make people happy, they will want to reciprocate and do nice things on our behalf, maybe even buy some of our products. If we exceed their expectations, then they will talk about us in their normal daily conversations (offline, nine times out of ten). But don’t worry, sometimes they will also talk about us on social media sites, so I guess you could call this a social media marketing plan. If you have to.”
Mr Adman: “Great! Absolutely, totally got it! One small problem is that we don’t have quite enough budget available, so my suggestion is that we just focus on the fireworks and skip the bonfires this time…”