I am frustrated by the fixation, especially among its advocates, on Social Media as the next great marketing channel. I have news for you, consumers aren’t nearly as interested in marketing as you are.
That doesn’t mean they never get involved; their interest ebbs and flows with their need. And it’s not that Social Media doesn’t have value, it does, but in context with consumers’ interest levels and needs.
Consumer / Brand Interest Curve
As a consumer’s need increases so does their interest in the category and their interest in marketing from the category.
Another repair bill on the old car. Time to consider a replacement. The consumer has entered the marketplace. They have begun prospecting, they have begun to notice car ads and search for car information.
Out of gas already. Gas prices have risen again.
“I wonder if $5 a gallon is in the cards for this summer.”
Now they get serious. Interest rises quickly. The consumer is actively considering their options, exploring the pros and cons of their competitive set. They are highly aware of all communication they receive or observe from brands in the category. They click on an offer ad or search for deals.
Finally a decision is made. The new car is in the driveway.
Now here comes the important bit. Their interest in the category doesn’t drop precipitously. They are still conscious of the messages being delivered to them. The brand’s and the competition’s. They are looking for confirmation that they have made a good decision. This is an opportunity for the brand to make a connection, to move the relationship from transactional to emotional. They are ready to listen.
As time goes by the consumer’s interest in the category wanes. They have their new car. The bloom is off the rose. They made the purchase decision and their decision was reinforced so they are open to messages from the brand, just don’t waste their time with a lot of hype. To earn their loyalty and continued interest give them practical, useful information, at a low level, and they will continue to listen.
- Use mass marketing to deliver a simple message about the brand and to invite consumers into the a relationship when their need rises.
- Use the web site and Social Media (Blogging, Word of Mouth) to reinforce your brand’s benefits versus its competition. Don’t repeat the advertising message. They get it or they wouldn’t be there. Time to close the deal.
- Once they have purchased, earn their trust. Build relationship equity. Establish a connection that move the relationship from transactional to emotional. Social Media (blogging, Twitter, Facebook) can be very important here.
- Then stay in touch. Send them useful info about using the product or changes in the category. Give them their own section in the web site. Ask their opinion. Listen to what interests them. Track their behavior. Don’t bombard them with pointless hype.