The “R” in Marketing – Marketers (and Politicians) Still Missing the Point of MRM

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “R” in marketing lately – the relationship factor, if you will. That word has always been in CRM but what about MRM? Marketing Relationship Management? I’ve been thinking about how the best marketers today really get this – they aren’t just about pushing content or messaging, but about building the right relationships in order to be heard. Marketers have not traditionally been “relationship” focused. They have been “megaphone management” focused.

Then last night I received a long, two-sided paper letter from a local politician’s party, telling me his long tales of woe and determination and why I should vote for him. And I thought, “Wow, this is so lame. How about trying to build a relationship with me all along, not just days or weeks before a vote?” (Note – this has nothing to do with my respect or thoughts on this candidate so please don’t go there – it’s about their tactics, not my political opinions.)

Marketers (and politicians, essentially your lobbying for votes is marketing) – let’s get smarter about the R in marketing. What does the “R” stand for today and how are you implementing it in your campaigns – or, are you? If you’re in marketing, you need to be thinking about the “R factor”:

  • Obviously, the biggest marketing R is RELATIONSHIP. Just look at that word and really think about it. What does it take to build a relationship – and sustain a positive one – with someone? It takes time, effort, consistency, attention. Repeat.
  • RECOGNITION – show me that you know who I am, you care about what I like and that you recognize my purchasing (or voting) power.
  • And that you RESPECT it. Answer me if I ask a question. Ask questions of me. Make an effort to find me and communicate with me where I am – don’t expect me to come to you anymore. Even if you never do anything with my answers other than acknowledge them, I’m likely to feel a special affinity towards you because you listened and cared enough to ask my opinion or feedback.
  • REWARD – marketers are generally used to “rewarding” loyal customers and potential prospects through recognition or special deals. This hasn’t changed. But what has changed is that your rewards – or lack thereof – will be publicly talked about, blogged about, tweeted about. Make ‘em good, make ‘em real and make ‘em consistently – your reward for doing so will be tenfold through positive, public word-of-mouth. (Another topic here big enough for its own blog post is cross-channel recognition and communications with loyal customers – a new CRM challenge.)
  • RELEVANCY – so you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Congratulations. Who are you following? Who are you enticing to follow your brand or politician? Who are you conversing with? What are you talking about? Make sure it’s relevant to me or your time is being wasted. Show me you “know” me – show me you want to talk about things already on my mind. Don’t come at me with your marketing messages but engage me in a dialogue relevant to what I have already made very clear I care about. Then, I will listen to you and your marketing messages – and maybe even try your product or service (or vote for you) – because you made an effort to relate to me as a customer, voter, prospect…but mostly, a person.

None of this may seem new or earth shattering, but I continue to see marketers every day who don’t get it. They keep pushing their news stream or blog posts or special offers without any dialogue or focus. They talk about Twitter numbers but then hesitantly say, “Oh, um, not really” when we ask if they have a strategy around building fans and followers – the relevant and right fans and followers. They don’t answer questions on Twitter unless it’s a customer service issue – which they immediately try to take “offline” – or they post content on Facebook and then don’t engage with fans who comment. This isn’t so much about the use of social media as it is recognizing the power of building stronger relationships – and how social media opens up such a huge opportunity to do so.

And, as I’ve been bantering about on my personal Facebook page this morning, I see a lot of politicians missing an opportunity to put some “Love” in their “Lobbying.” That is, to connect with a younger demographic through social media – and to use it to connect with me, to talk with me, to not just send me two pages about you, but to show me you care to know a little about me – my needs, desires, hopes and dreams as a voter. I want to get to know you as well – but, only pushing content to me – and especially only around election time – is not productive. Even politicians using social media aren’t doing it right yet. Someone stated this morning that most people wouldn’t be open to it because the assumption is that it would be an aide or a junior executive behind the social media communication. But I’m okay with that – as long as it’s clear – if it means I get to know a candidate in a way that I can relate to, that I get to see their activity, hear from them and ask questions throughout the year – on my timetable, not theirs – and if I feel connected to them. Social media is all about a connection that we’ve never had before – politicians (and marketers!) should be embracing that opportunity to build long-lasting, loyal relationships.

Like traditional marketers, I don’t think political parties are building relationships with the masses. Let me say, I hate your ads. I roll my eyes at your sign-holding-picketers over the highway or in front of the grocery store and your recorded phone messages make me want to rip the phone from the wall. I laugh – in disgust – at the money you are throwing out the window on such irrelevant, surface and old-school campaign “strategies.” I don’t want you to touch my baby, let alone kiss him, and your handshake really means nothing to me if you haven’t taken the time to connect with me, relate to me and talk to me in a day and age when there’s no excuse not to. You’re not a celebrity, so stop acting like one – come “down” and talk to me if you want my vote (or my purchase).

Marketers, social media has changed the R in marketing. It’s about relationships – that is, relating between two entities – and yes, those take time to build, cultivate and keep. But like our personal lives, the rewards are well worth it.

What do you think? Are marketers doing a good job building relationships in today’s social business world?

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Persuasive Picks for the week of 10/11/10

How to Integrate Video Into Your Social Media Marketing
The latest episode of Social Media Examiner TV hosted by Mari Smith features a plethora of basic information on getting started with mixing video into your social content offerings. Watch the episode below, but be sure to make the jump over to the site for links to all the resources mentioned in the video.

 

Could Facebook be bluffing on search-engine plans?
Mashable‘s Pete Cashmore shares his perspective on this week’s Facebook/Microsoft Bing partnership via his regular column on CNN.com.

What Social Media Can Teach Us About SEO
There are plenty of ways to “game” social platforms in order to give off a perception of greater influence, but when it comes to search rankings, only original and engaging content will get you where you need to be in the world of SEO. Vizion Interactive CEO Mark Jackson shares his views on the the topic, via this post on Clickz.com.

Social Media Now More Popular Than E-mail on Mobile Devices
Lauren Indvik highlights the results of a recent TNS report that found “mobile users spend 1.4 times as many hours using social networking sites than reading and responding to e-mail” via this post on Mashable. Is mobile part of your social strategy yet?

How to drive Facebook likes
This post from Drew McLellan provides a brief overview of Corona’s recent Facebook campaign to drive more “Likes.” Don’t have a Corona-sized budget? Drew also provides some good tips on executing your own successful campaign.

Getting Social—Social Media’s Boost for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink—it’s everywhere this month. My local newspaper is dyed pink. NFL Football players are sporting pink sneakers and wristbands. Niagara Falls and the Georgia Aquarium are showing their support for breast cancer by lighting up in pink for the entire month. And even Microsoft issued a pink mouse to celebrate the cause. It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month— a time for women and men to learn, to remember, and to survive.

Nearly everyone knows someone, has a story, or has been affected by this disease somehow, someway. My Grandmother survived — she had a double mastectomy in her seventies. My Aunt died. She was in her forties and had two kids in high school. It’s a cause that nearly everyone can put a human face behind and, as sad as that is, this could be the reason breast cancer is such a well-recognized and widely supported cause.

In fact, breast cancer is now a brand in itself. It has a logo. Sponsored events. Spokespeople and celebrity endorsements. A trademark color. It has an elected month. It’s a successful brand in part because of its ability to create an emotional link with its audience; however, with the ever-changing social media landscape, this brand (along with many other brands) is challenged. Brands need to engage their audience by sharing content – they need to speak and listen—ultimately developing a valuable rapport with its target audience. Interestingly, over the past few years, and gaining momentum each passing year, breast cancer awareness is being touted through various social networks and social media campaigns. It’s clear that breast cancer awareness has an active voice within the social network community.

Social media has the power to be a huge platform for advocating awareness and spreading the word. The YouTube “Pink Glove Dance” video by the Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Oregon proved to be an online sensation. The dance is meant to raise awareness for early detection, pump up hospital employees, and encourage those in the fight against breast cancer. With over 1.8 million hits on YouTube, this social media campaign demonstrated such huge success that Medline, the Chicago-area company that makes the pink gloves and produced the video, decided to create a sequel—with more than 4,000 healthcare workers and breast cancer survivors.

On the other hand, some Facebook campaigns for breast cancer awareness month are quite curious. For example, last year the women of Facebook wrote the color of their bra– and nothing else– as their Facebook statuses. This year, women are using their statuses to fill in the statement about their handbags or pocketbooks: “I like it on the…” Ultimately, they’re trying to sound scandalous, but it’s the lack of correlation between the disease and these campaigns that are confusing. The campaigns seem to be completely irrelevant to anything having to do with breast cancer; however, there’s no denying that the effects of successful campaigning for breast cancer have led to a remarkable decline in the disease. Surprisingly, the campaigns do work. Susan G. Komen for the Cure and The American Cancer Society stated they received a significant increase of Facebook fans and inquires for more information about the disease. The power of social media.

So fellow pink-branding observers—what do you think about the success of breast cancer awareness month thus far? Please share your thoughts of what you noticed most about this campaign. What did you choose to promote or share with friends on your various social networks? What didn’t you want to share (either too sad or too personal)? And for those of you who donated to the cause—what got you to reach into your wallet and donate? Do you see other causes learning from this success and building out their brands? If so we’d love to know who they are. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Persuasive Picks for the week of 10/04/10

New Facebook Groups Designed to Change the Way You Use Facebook
Facebook announced a completely new version of its Groups functionality this week that has come with both praise and criticism. Find out more via this Mashable post that includes a video showing the basics of whats new.

Marketers Losing Amid Social Media Clutter
This post from Mathew Ingram highlights the findings of a recent Forrester study that revealed marketers will have bigger challenges breaking through to the Gen Y demographic. The solution? Create more interesting content. Read on for more.

Nine Elements of Highly Engaging Social Media Campaigns
This 1to1media.com post features some great social campaign tips from the book “The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change” by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith.

How Gap turned its logo disaster into a social media opportunity
Smart Company Australia‘s Patrick Stafford chronicles how retail clothing giant Gap managed to use social media to turn a poorly received logo change into a positive and successful social case study.

Nissan applies new social media tactics for Juke launch
RBR.com highlights Nissan‘s unique approach to promoting its new sport cross-over with a mix of social media and blogger buzz includng an engagement with the guys from IWearYourShirt.com.

 

A Week of (Soggy) Marketing & Social Media Learning in Boston – Join us online or at IMS at 1 today!

If you’re in or around the Boston area this week, you already know that it’s a big week for new marketing, social media and business professionals. A flurry of events are taking place as IMS 2010 and FutureM are in full swing. If you can’t join live, be sure to watch the numerous sessions on livestream via The Pulse Network, catch the chatter on Twitter (hashtags: #futureM and #IMS10) or the many blog posts being written by attendees.

Today, you can catch PerkettPR’s Claire Russell presenting “The Power of Reel” at 1 p.m. EST at IMS. She’ll be partnering with Bettina Hein, Founder & CEO of Pixability, to showcase how easy and powerful video is – and how it can help you to not only tell your story but create stronger relationships and impact in your social marketing efforts. Case studies will include work and campaigns from businesses such as Old Spice, Livestrong, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and more.

Not in Boston at IMS today? Then considering joining me at 1 p.m., along with the American Marketing Association, Conduit (a PerkettPR client), John Jantsch, Author of Duct Tape Marketing and Sally Falkow, as we present “5 Must Dos for Social Media Holiday Marketing.” Focused mainly on how SMBs can use social media to successfully – and easily – expand their holiday marketing efforts. Not convinced social marketing is for you? Check out these facts from the press release:

  • More than 50% of the 500 million Facebook users log on to Facebook every day.  In total, they spend over 700 billion minutes per month on the service.
  • People are watching 2 billion videos a day on YouTube; every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to the service.
  • Users spend 22.7% of their time online on social networking sites.

I hope we’ll see you either at IMS, FutureM or on the webinar today. Looking forward to sharing insights, learning from others and continuing to merge our online and offline relationships.

Happy marketing!