Kia Connects and Wins – An Advertising Lesson… for Marketers

Today the Wall Street Journal ran an article highlighting the fact that the Kia Soul hatchback won the Automotive Ad of the Year from Nielsen Automotive. In the article, the reporter states, “Compared with typical auto ads, the quirky  Kia spot focuses less on the car’s technical details and more on the freedom that driving brings” and that “Kia ad’s success is indicative of a trend toward smaller, often obscure brands taking more chances and getting more recognition from consumers with edgy, unusual advertising.”

 

Consumers are doing much  more than recognizing – they’re expecting to be listened to, and not just in advertising. One of the elements that we talk about a lot with clients today is the customer’s influence on marketing and involvement in PR. Marketers traditionally think that they’re the only ones doing the influencing, but in reality, today’s consumer holds a great deal of influence, as evidenced by debacles such as the “Motrin Moms” issue and more recently, Nestle’s social media mess.

So what do a cute hamster ad, angry mommy bloggers and social-media savvy protesters have in common? A theme not only of engagement but of encouraging involvement. Especially with B2C companies, consumers want to be heard not just after your ad airs or marketing campaign is launched, but before. They want to see their influence reflected in your ad spots, your marketing materials, your messaging and your promotions. Truly connecting with customers means understanding them – you can “engage” with them on Facebook but if you’re not really listening, and assessing their feedback, you won’t understand them. If you don’t understand them, it’s difficult to connect in a way that will inspire desired actions.

Kia recognized what their customers care about and let it influence their messaging -  creating an ad that touched them emotionally (freedom) vs. intellectually (the product specs). Advertisers are no strangers to using both sentiments in their campaigns, while  marketers often assume that the technical details will elicit the desired emotional response. Marketers could have greater success if they learn to open up a bit and allow customers to participate in the direction of messaging and marketing -  even product marketing and development, as Hallmark recently did with their “Birthday Your Way” Greeting Card Contest – not just a contest for promotional purposes, but really, truly allowing consumers to influence and create products.

Marketers who recognize today’s unprecedented opportunity to easily integrate customers’ opinions and desires into the overall marketing strategy – not just a feedback loop – will see greater success. Social media tools make this particularly easy to do, although it’s not just about gathering information, but rather understanding how to use that information to make an emotional connection with your brand and create an ongoing, solid relationship with your customer.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

You say Potat-o, I say Potat-a. Social Media, Marketing & Perspectives

AdAge ran an article yesterday that reminded me of perspectives. Perspectives have been on my mind as we continue to help businesses and institutions of all types more directly communicate with their key audiences – from customers, patients and prospects to partners, VCs, media and more. Perspectives have also been on my mind as many social media fans questioned the value of attending the recent South by South West (SxSW) festival in Austin – many folks said it’s the “must attend” show for anyone in social media. Others claim the festival has gone by the wayside and many debated whether or not it was worth attending at all.

Well, I guess that depends on your perspective.

For example, the AdAge article was about Justin Bieber. I don’t know who Justin Bieber is – but thanks to Simon Dumenco, I know now that he’s a Twitter and marketing machine, and quite possibly “the biggest legit pop star ever created by YouTube.” Now, none of this really matters to me (other than my interest in the marketing impact and approach) because I don’t have, as Simon puts it, a “young teen or tween.” My perspective is, “Justin who?” because I have no connection to this phenom and thus, while impressed with his impact, don’t really have a reason to care.

Likewise, people not in the business of social media or marketing don’t really care that the social media crowd gathers in Austin for a week, while a social media manager would “just die” if she weren’t at the “see and be seen” event. Someone ready to retire doesn’t think much about the job market, an ice skater likely doesn’t much care about the NCAA championships, and a fashion maven would do anything to get into New York Fashion Week, while her neighbor Bob, who owns a bait and tackle store, doesn’t even know that entire weeks are dedicated to watching skinny models walk down elaborate runways in outrageous clothing.

The point is, perspectives matter – especially in marketing. It’s the marketer’s job to get out of their own heads and into that of the audience they’re trying to influence. Do you know what your potential customer’s perspective is? You know what you think it is, but do you really know? Have you asked? Do you include a feedback mechanism in your marketing in order to keep rapidly changing perspectives in mind as you devise your strategy?

Traditionally, marketers gathered such information through the likes of surveys, polls, or focus groups –often conducted via email, phone or formal gatherings. While these methods can still be fruitful, it’s often challenging to get a good response rate and can be a great undertaking of both time and expense.

Many companies often ask what the value is in dedicating time spent on social media sites as part of their marketing or PR efforts. If they can’t correlate a direct sale, it can be difficult to convince the C-suite of the value. However, marketers need to think of social networks not as a direct sales pipeline but more as an ongoing, live and constantly evolving focus group. Understanding your customers and prospects has always been a core focus in marketing, and social media allows you to gather such perspectives on a daily basis.

If you know how to navigate the networks, a good marketer can use social media for ongoing research – gathering oodles of useful data just by watching the conversations (note; understanding how to find the right conversations is key). When you can gather information about what your constituents are thinking, what they care about, where they see the “next hot thing,” etc., you can better understand their perspectives.

A better marketer understands how to participate in the networks to direct conversations toward useful topics – in order to get perspectives on the things that matter to your business.

A great marketer knows how to integrate an audience’s perspectives into social marketing campaigns. When customers feel that you understand them, they’re more likely to listen. When they see you participating in conversation with them – not just talking at them, but with them – they’re more likely to connect with and trust you (or your brand). When they feel an emotional connection to your brand – something easier to create when you understand perspectives – they’re more likely to become brand champions.

So listen up – and integrate social media into your marketing efforts to, at the very least, get your pulse on the perspectives that matter to your business.

 

Persuasive Picks for the week of 03/15/10

facebook-et-1Facebook overtakes Google, Twitterers prefer social to news
The SiliconRepublic’s John Kennedy shares a variety of stats and projections from a recent study issued by Hitwise. The study confirms that traffic to Facebook has outpaced Google. In addition, Twitter is continuing to emerge as a key source for news and media sites.

Twitter’s @anywhere could prove risky for users
Computerworld’s Sharon Gaudin provides a rundown of Twitter’s new @anywhere functionality and explains why this offering could prove risky to brands.

How SEO Can Build Brand
This post from SEOConsult begins the exploration of the relationship between Search Engine Optimization and the profitability of your business.

Is Google Wave getting Buzzed?
Google Wave and Google Buzz are two new apps that many web-workers are still struggling to figure out. Both were launched in radically different ways. While users are still trying to figure out how these products fit into their workflow, it seems that Google itself is also still trying to determine what’s next for these new offerings. To be continued…

It’s the Social Media Strategy Struggle
WebWorkDaily’s Aliza Sherman shares a list of helpful social media strategies that she learned from her experience at this year’s SXSW Interactive Conference.

Love Your Accountant? PR Firm? Vet? Last Day for Make A Referral Week to Help SMBs!

As a small business, and one that often promotes relevant technologies, product and services, we are passionate about supporting the SMB community. Small businesses are the crux of our economy – stimulating new ideas, new jobs and new creations every day. So we wanted to remind you that today marks the last day to make a referral on “Make a Referral Week” -  an entrepreneurial approach to stimulating the small business economy one referred business at a time.

“The goal for the week is to generate 1000 referred leads to 1000 deserving small businesses in an effort to highlight the impact of a simple action that could blossom into millions of dollars in new business,” writes John Jantsch, creator of the effort and author of Duct Tape Marketing. We couldn’t agree more, so please, join the cause – show the power of referrals and make one here, today.

 

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Persuasive Picks for the week of 03/08/10

turbotax-facebook-page Social Media Lessons from the Big Brands: Intuit Edition
While most big brands are still just experimenting with social media, some have jumped in with both feet and are finding success. This post from Chris Crum explores how tax and financial software giant Inuit has integrated social media strategies into many facets of their business.

18 Use Cases That Show Business How to Finally Put Customers First
In this MPDailyFix guest post, Jeremiah Owyang shares a great set a use cases to help companies “scale to keep up” in the rapid-paced world of social media.

Social Media Marketing: Are You Spread Too Thin?
Its not too difficult to get carried away trying out the latest and greatest social media tools and platforms. Before long, you find yourself swamped trying to keep them all updated. Fast Company Expert Blogger, Rich Brooks, shares advice – hint: keep focused on business goals.

Do You Have a Social Media Disorder?
Noah J. Nelson from YouthRadio.org notifies us of several new (and very humorous) “personality disorders” that have surfaced with the rise of social media in this reprint on the Huffington Post.

The Truth About the Average Twitter User
Mashable co-editor Ben Parr shares the hard facts about Twitter usage from a recent study by Barracuda Networks.