Monday, November 10, 2008

Case Study: Social Networking

Today's case study comes to us from Chief Marketer. It's an interesting discussion about how the Broadway musical, First Wives Club is using social networking to build a fan base, and an audience for the musical. What I learned? For the right target market, making the effort to build and manage a social network absolutely makes sense.

Below is the case study in its entirety.

First Wives Club Engages in Social Networking

When you're going through a tough time, you need friends more than ever. And if they an identify with your experiences, even better. recently debuted social networking features to help divorced and soon-to-be-single-again women do just that—and have laugh or two in the process..

The venture began when Jonas Neilson and his partner Paul Lambert acquired the rights to produce a Broadway musical based on the 1996 film "First Wives Club."

In the process of reinterpreting the movie for the stage, the duo ran a series of focus groups with divorced women. Unlike typical focus groups, champagne was served.

"It was really kind of interesting, because they were more like cocktail parties," says Neilson, it wasn't long into each session before the ladies were laughing, crying and exchanging business cards. "There was an unspoken bond between the women. They had a commonality which immediately created a sense of belonging to the group."

There was a real need there that wasn't being met online, says Neilson, for women to connect with other people who were going through the same experience.

Over time, the site morphed into a destination for divorced women to find networking, resources and entertainment, such as "Hot Flashes," a fictional blog by Mimi Schmir, a writer who has written for "Grey's Anatomy," that take a humorous look at failed marriages.

While some might think a site devoted to divorce would be maudlin, Neilson says with First Wives World that is most certainly not the case. He says most divorced women he's talked to say they were miserable in the marriage, and the divorce became a shot at a new life.

Neilson says he thinks that the next frontier for successful online communities is taking those relationships offline, into the "real" world.

As for the musical, it will premiere at the Old Globe Theater in San Diego in July 2009, with a goal of hitting Broadway in 2010. Getting the word out via the site is a natural fit since the profile of many users—women who are 40+—dovetails what who buys the majority of theater tickets.

The portal is generating about 100,000 page views per month. Right now, Neilson says is concentrating on building an audience, rather than measuring a hard ROI.

"We want to keep the network 'sacred' for women" who are gathering information on how to deal with their divorce, Neilson notes. "We don't want to inundate them with banners. We want them to feel this is their space."

Of course, he notes, that doesn't mean that the site isn't looking for unique ways for sponsors to integrate their marketing messages into the site. It's a good demographic, Neilson says, because at this point in their lives, these women are very open to changing things like brand loyalties.

Ultimately, Neilson says the site will help fund the musical. "Instead of creating the product and then trying to find an audience, we're building the audience first."


Ted Grigg said...

There is real creativity out there in the online networking world. It all started in a big way with LinkedIn. Now Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the others that do not segment by market are bumping up against other with market saturation.

Most of us can only spend so much time in a day online.

So market segmentation begins. Common life experiences naturally tie people together. And the strong cohesion that exists in these newly defined networks make it easier to monetize them.

Thanks for the insight on your post.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Seeing as that there are now so many social networks catering to such a wide range of niches, my biggest problem is finding ones relevant to me and related to my specific interests or product niches. Google seems to be inefficient and returns alot of irrelevant results. A cool resource that I use is this search engine designed specifically to find social networking sites.

women networking said...

What a great idea! I love reading about different women networking sites and ideas. This sounds great! Thanks for posting.

Trina C said...

dont miss out on launching in January. I saw it advertised on facebook and linkedin. Its a site that combines business and social newtorking for women.

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