Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Targeting Essential to Viral Marketing

Yesterday we posted about how more and more firms are turning to social marketing, and, in fact, looking for ways to decrease e-mail marketing with social marketing tactics.

Today, we'll present the other side of the coin and remind all marketers out there that if the message isn't targeted to the right audience, the campaign will never be a success. A basic principle of direct marketing, right? Well, we all need to remember those 'basics', even when we venture into a new marketing area, such as Viral Marketing.

See this article from Viral Marketing Not As Contagious As Thought.

From the article: "When it comes to viral marketing only 15 percent of advertisers reached the goal of prompting consumers to pass along their messages for them in the past year according to a new report from JupiterResearch, "Viral Marketing: Bringing the Message to the Masses."

Even with the popularity of social media sites like MySpace and YouTube, viral marketing campaigns are consistently proving ineffective in delivering and sustaining a brand over time, mainly because of misdirected tactics."

Why do so many social campaigns fail?

The article cites a common tactic of targeting "influentials" in the hopes of sparking viral behavior. Unfortunately, all too often, the same message is presented to the same group of influentials, regardless of product/brand. Lessoned learned: just as in all other direct marketing channels, different segments respond very differently.

Social marketing experts are starting to figure out that they need to carefully target their market and then make sure that the message is spot-on. It's only when those things work together that the social marketing campaign has an iota of a chance of going viral.

An example of different behaviors that should be considered when employing a social marketing campaign: "The report found that relatively older online users are more likely than relatively younger users to forward advertising messages to friends or tell friends about ads. With young audiences showing an increased use of social sites, relatively older audiences show an increased use of email, video and should be included in viral marketing campaigns."

So, it's key to understand media and channel preferences when planning a social marketing program.

We've learned that these three things are key to social marketing campaigns:

1. Understand your target market
2. Match your message/offer to your target market
3. Understand media and channel behavior to optimize the campaign

Sound familiar? We direct marketers have the tools, the expertise and the ability to target our audience. We know how to test and how to 'tweak' offers/messages until we get the right combination. And, we're starting to get a handle on channel preferences.

Not to pat ourselves on the back, BUT...We direct marketers are ahead of the game. Let's bring our direct marketing skills to the world of social marketing. Let's show them how it's done :)

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