Forget Michael Porter, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki–if you’re in search of fresh marketing guidance for 2013, then perhaps you should consider a new source. Someone who can help you rectify the dichotomy of abundant data and scant insights and the paradox of ever-expanding media options with the purely finite nature of time. Someone like…Mick Jagger.
Way back in 1968, Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger, along with co-writer Keith Richards, distilled the frustrating complexity of marketing to these prophetic words: “You can’t always get want you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.” And though you may never be able to move like Jagger, you can certainly adopt a few of these bold marketing moves, and perhaps, get what you need in 2013.
1. Can’t Get No Satisfaction From Facebook
This bold move starts with the recognition that Facebook was not a brand’s best friend in 2012, when changes to its EdgeRank algorithm dramatically reduced the reach of brand posts. The effect was so discouraging that Peter Stringer, senior director, Interactive Marketing for the Boston Celtics, publicly expressed his frustration at the recent SMWF conference and encouraged fellow marketers to de-emphasize Facebook as a mass marketing channel and nurture alternatives.
2. Get Off of My Cloud and Onto Google+
Sensing a disturbance in the force that is Facebook, Google+ just might be rising to the occasion with Hangouts on Air, and its more recently announced Communities. Throw in Google Authorship, which links your articles back to your Google+ profile, and Google is all but guaranteeing that Google+ will improve your natural search performance. Bold brands will experiment with newsworthy press conferences via Hangouts or be the first in their category to cavort with customers on G+ Communities.
3. Gimme Shelter in Your Community
Long before Facebook and LinkedIn offered groups, brands like SAP had the foresight to build and nurture their own communities. In 2013, bold brands will reconsider renting from others, and instead, build their own. Explains Stephanie Anderson, SVP of marketing at Time Warner Cable Business Class, “Businesses especially rely on communities and external resources to help drive their decisions, particularly in the communications/technology world.”
4. Emotional Rescue From Marketer Messaging
Despite all the hype, social media as a marketing channel has been a one-hit wonder for most brands. Bold marketers need to stop using social as just another place to push messaging out and start thinking of social, first and foremost, as a customer service opportunity. Advises Kip Wetzel, executive director of social media strategy at Comcast, “Have conversations with customers and do more by harnessing social feedback.”
5. Waiting on a Friend to Be Truly Mobile
For years, pundits like me have been advising brands to have mobile-friendly websites. In 2013, bold marketers will take this much further, putting mobile at the center of their customer retention efforts. Branded content–from emails to white papers to videos to configurators to infographics–should all be optimized for consumption on a mobile device, as there’s nearly a 50/50 chance that that’s just where they’ll be consumed.
6. Time (and Curation) is on My Side
Time is indeed the most precious commodity. Marketers who waste it with specious spam and relentless retargeting will be added to our collective “do not engage” list. Conversely, brands that make the most of our time by curating the otherwise overwhelming amount of content will be welcomed like friends. Adobe is doing this with their well-curated CMO.com website and associated newsletter. Confirms James Gross, president of Percolate, “Brands need to create content and be relevant in real time.”
7. Let Pictures Be Your Beast of Burden
The bold part of this move is the simple recognition that while most of us won’t make time to read, we seem to have a bottomless appetite for pictures. Add a picture to a tweet, and retweets increase. Post a primo photo to Facebook and your PTAT (people talking about this) score will leap. Memes, those ironic chunks of graphic wisdom, have become the workhorse of social sharing. And of course, photo-based networks Pinterest and Instagram have emerged as brand-friendly channels. Get the picture?
8. Shine a Light on Social Data
While most brands are just figuring out how to feed the content beast that is social media, a few are starting to cull actionable insights from social data. LoudDoor, a social data mining company, helped Hornitos Tequila uncover their fans’ unique predilection for mud sports. Explains Jeff French, LoudDoor’s CEO, “We used these findings to target the ‘mud race’ audience for future activations and were able to deliver outstanding results for the client.”
9. Let’s Spend the Night Together
Even if you’ve done all of the above, there’s still a chance that your carefully cultivated content will be the proverbial tree falling in the forest. Why? Most brands post content only during the day, when consumption is at its lowest since your fans work, too! Instead, brands need to consider the habits of their fans and time their content for the moment of highest receptivity. This is especially true for brands with large international followings that warrant their own well-timed posts (which is at least one good thing Facebook allows).
10. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking at Events
For years, marketers have realized that cross-channel advertising programs are more effective than a single-channel approach. One cross-channel approach that is currently overlooked by many is combining event marketing with social. Bold marketers will take advantage of the natural synergies between these two to change this. Social is terrific at expanding a relationship that began at an engaging event, event marketing is ideal for capturing content that can, in turn, be disseminated via social, and both drive down the cost of the other.
11. Under My Thumb With Useful Mobile Content
Separate from the notion of producing mobile-friendly content, bold brands will finally put smartphone advertising to the test. Notes Dan Hodges, chief revenue officer for Verve, “The ability to reach and persuade with precision [via mobile] is a game changer for marketers.” The trick will be finding ways to avoid being annoying and instead, through careful data analysis, provide just the right content, at just the right time, in just the right location–all of which is now possible.
12. Play With Fire
Tried and true is well and good, but chances are your competition will try something new in 2013, so why don’t you? In 2012, GE proved the possibilities of Pinterest for B2B; USA Networks developed multiple social TV apps that drove up ratings of shows like “Psych”; Barclaycard crowdsourced a new type of credit card; and the (now-famous) band Karmin built a 1.7mm fan base on Google+. These brands played with fire, if you will, and blazed new trails in the process.
13. Good Times, Bad Times for Social
Perhaps the boldest move of all will be the dissolution of social as a specialized practice within organizations, allowing for the creation of truly social businesses. These enlightened entities will see social as the ultimate opportunity to attract and retain the best talent, the best partners, and the best customers. And while businesses will still benefit from having social media experts nearby, the bigger ROI will happen when all employees become socially savvy.
In case this post didn’t “start you up” sufficiently, feel free to check out my interviews with Stephanie Anderson (Time Warner Cable Business Class), Kip Wetzel (Comcast), Jeff French (LoudDoor), Nicole Bohorad (CapitalOne), Jeff Schick (IBM), and Paul Gilmore (Barclaycard), now on TheDrewBlog.
[Image: Flickr user Sel]