The social media marketing disconnect.

PiKE Thinking at altconference Jhb thanks ZA5 for photo

PiKE Thinking at altconference Jhb thanks ZA5 for photo

At the alt conference in Joburg I spoke about the way we think about social media and marketing and the disconnect.

The key impact of the Internet is a social one. We really cant look at the changes brought about and see it in either technology, SEM or traditional marketing terms.

Branding works because we believe can build brands by strategically adding performance, image and emotional associations to a product or service offering, and if we do it often enough and convincingly enough through our advertising our brand will gather a loyal following.

Advertising thinks about how to effectively interrupt people by producing advertising that is RELEVANT (or else it has no purpose) ORIGINAL (or else it wont be noticed) and IMPACTFUL (or else it will make no lasting impression)

Search engine marketing (SEM) especially SEO (search engine optimisation) is concerned about building a road map so people can find your site, and driving as many people as possible to that site.

Brands only exist in the minds of consumers, and branding as a strategy can only work if brand owners can manipulate perceptions. In an environment where the power which comes from the control of information has evaporated as consumers have almost unlimited access to brand and product information the brand building process is in the hands of the consumer, its now their experiences and the experiences of their “friends” that build the brand legend.

The power of social media are aptly demonstrated by the role of twitter in the Iran elections, the shootings in Mumbai and the earthquake in China. These demonstrate that the links between people are more important than the channels, one way in the case of traditional media or even two way in the Web 2.0 sense.

To be successful, I suggest, we need to think of the internet as the most efficient disseminator of stories, of word of mouth (to give it a label) ever invented and to engage with the market in the way we would build relationships in the local pub. Until a century or so ago we all lived in villages, tightly knit communities and we had those skills. Industrialisation robbed us of them and now the technology has allowed us to revert to our natural state.

The world is once again a village, we all talk to each other and we all know each other as people.

To understand how to market in this “New” world we need understand how we marketed in the “Old” world. That this is nothing to do with technology that has recreated the village nor branding nor marketing its about society and social dynamics.

To market in the new world we have to give the market the tools to build our brands for us.

Thanks Paul for setting up #altconf

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  • Guy McLaren

    Walter I would read this if I could but the grey on grey is impossible with my eyes

    • Walter Pike

      Sorry Guy – maybe the page didn't load out there in the lowveld. The background should be white :) thanks for logging on.