Online Marketing Anti-Pattern #3 – Spray & Pray is Buzz

By Subraya Mallya - September 2010 | Topics - Marketing

In this age of hyper-connectivity, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter – companies have expanded their marketing outreach beyond the traditional PR outlets to include all the social media outlets. Having a Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, all interconnected and sharing updates, has become the norm. Everything is about creating “buzz” these days.

Social media is a two way street. It allows companies to build relationships and have conversations with the audience as opposed to just doing a PR broadcast as was done in the years gone by. The information thus broadcast was languid. A typical release carried the following blue print.

MeToo unveils Next-Generation on-demand Revenue Optimization software.

NEW JERSEY, April 1 /ZRNewswire/

MeToo Inc, the leader in on-demand revenue management solutions, announced the release of the next generation product that would revolutionize…… This version of the product includes ….kitchen sink…

With this product we will significantly increase the revenue optimization potential of our customers” says R.U Trusting, CEO of MeToo Inc.

MeToo has been a strategic technology partner and has been very receptive of our needs. This product has solved one of the most critical problems that has dogged us for years and we expect to increase shareholder value tremendously with this product” said I.M Sucker, President of I.M. Suckers Inc

About MeToo
MeToo helps Global-100 of CPG companies to model, factor and optimize revenue through state of art modeling techniques and helps reduce DSO and improve cash flow. For more information, visit http://www.metoo.com/press

About IMSU
I.M Suckers (NASDAQ:IMSU) is the world’s leading processed food company in the world. For more information about IMSU , visit http://www.imsu.com

To get this into the hands of the masses, companies hired PR agencies to broadcast them. Technology and Financial aggregation sites consumed that information and played a role in spreading them. This is the classic illustration of Spray-and-Pray. The problem with this approach is that all the information is passive, boiler plate based. People have grown weary of such self-serving marketing information. Once they see the words “PR Newswire or  MarketWire”, they will just glaze over the rest of the stuff – no matter how earth shattering the rest of the content.

Old habits die hard. Instead of harnessing the true potential of social media, companies are doubling down on their broadcast habits using them as DIY (do-it-yourself) PR and spamming their messages across all of them. The zero-sum strategy of using all the avenues – PR Newswire, Facebook, Twitter and numerous others. Not all outlets are the same and meant to be used the same way. While some might be announcements, others should involve engaging with the audience. It is critical to recognize the ways you can better understand, respond to, and attract the attention of your target audience. It is all about managing the signal-to-noise ratio as seen from the audience point of view.

Here are some thoughts to better streamline your marketing efforts

  1. Skills involved: If you are engaging a PR agency to do both traditional and social media campaigns there is high likelihood that  you will fail. Traditional PR guys will do a great job with print media, press releases etc. They have been doing that for ages. They do not get the concept of engaging with people. Social Media is about engagement, empowerment and harnessing the treasure trove that gets generated to derive patterns. Think customer service, client services and product marketing. PR agencies are not skilled at doing that. Also you want to keep the prospects, fans close to you and not to your PR agencies.
  2. Right balance: Strike a right balance between each media outlet to get the desired results. Driving interest to your site with insightful thought leadership either via blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, webinars are as effective (if not better) as you continue flushing out content to all outlets possible.  If you are looking for branding, engaging with fans – Facebook and YouTube provide great avenues.  If you are using Facebook extensively, your goal should be to get your fan’s to contribute as much (if not more) content. Twitter is great to listen to what customers are saying about you and respond to that. It is also a great way to spread your word in a viral way.
  3. Time involved: Different marketing campaigns deserve different strategies based on the time it takes to create and reach the audience. Traditional print/press involves wading through all the sales and marketing mumbo-jumbo to hone in on the key points. Then comes the editing process – format, edit and proof reading before publishing the article. On the other hand, social media outlets, allow you to instantly disseminate information to thousands of people. Better yet, you can leverage rich media to target audience who have expressed interest by Like-ing or Follow-ing you. It is easy to get information out there in social media and get, track and act on the responses. Social media also allows you to optimize the content for search engines and those consumed by other evangelists, blogger. Branding is a key criteria as well. Press Releases on the other hand have very little branding capabilities.
  4. Audience’ appetite: While the temptation on your part to maximize the reach of a campaign could be high, moderation should be your mantra. Excessive spamming could induce reader/viewer fatigue. Think Hose and Drip System. In some instance you want to drip information and let it spread and get discussed before you drip the next.
  5. Two ears One mouth:As they say, we are given two ears and one mouth so we listen twice as much as we speak. Marketing is as much about listening to signals, feedback, opinions from your prospects, customers, fans and adjusting, re-orienting the follow up campaigns.

Adopting these should allow you to tailor your marketing campaigns, reach the right audience and build lasting relationships.

Would love to hear thoughts from others.

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