This Christmas, Santa’s job looks straightforward - go to all of the factories in Asia, load up with the latest technology, drop it down chimneys in the West. There may be other gift options available, but you wouldn’t know it from the seasonal TV ads. Come 2013, the mobile consumer is going to be an even bigger segment of the marketplace.
Combine that with the new 4G network - and talk already of 5G to come - and it might seem obvious that your marketing strategy has got to get connected. That means a mobile website and social presence at a minimum. Doesn’t it?
Not necessarily, judging by a recent discussion I chaired at an event hosted by Blue Sheep. The subject was social and how companies should deal with it. The responses were much more diverse than you might expect.
On the one hand, a global sports club has built 22 million social connections worldwide, something it would never previously have been able to do. Connecting to a fan in this way is the start of a relationship which may lead towards a transaction through the sale of some merchandise. Since barely a handful of the millions of club supporters globally can ever get to see the team in person, that is where the real money is to be made.
On the other hand, a B2B financial services provider had looked long and hard at social and decided it was just not appropriate. It sells to intermediaries of which there is a limited universe. The business also has constraints on how large it wants this particular brand to become - that’s not something you hear very often from the mouth of a marketer. Relentless expansion with no respect for constraints is how most conversations come across.
So if you are considering your social strategy for 2013, here are some things you might want to consider:
Is social bigger than we want to be?
Facebook may have reached one billion users, but chances are your potential audience is much, much smaller. Don’t be persuaded that you have to be on social just because of its scale. What matters is how big you want your reach to be - that might mean using smaller social networks of more specific interest to your market, rather than putting up a company page on the largest network for anybody to see. Social works by direct marketing rules like any other channel, so don’t forget the targeting.
What is our clock speed?
Writing about data, I have only made limited use of social media because the rate at which things happen in the industry is limited. If your market is faster moving, it makes more sense to be in key channels like Twitter. One of the worst things to do is start out using social and then run out of things to populate it with - if your most recent post is more than a month old, it’s an epic fail.
Can we live with non-financial metrics for our ROI?
Nobody knows how to measure the financial return of social at the moment - fact. You will have heard that Dell claims to attribute £x millions in sales to its use of social marketing. But it sells directly and is therefore only one click away from a sale whatever channel it is in. And if there is only one example of financial metrics available, be wary of assuming you could prove a direct ROI in your own case. Instead, ask whether you will accept softer measures, just as you do for brand building. If your social strategy can live with that, you might miss some of the stress social can cause.