Social Media and Field Marketing (from F Cavazza)
We just stumbled on this post from Frédéric Cavazza – a prominent French blogger in social media – and we’d like to share its content with you (with author approval).
We really like the idea of social media becoming an integral part of marketing activities cross the board: from market research to crowd sourcing or testing ideas to branding, pr and seo.
So, here is Frédéric’s article (original post in French is here).
Until now, when a brand wishes to assess reputation, it should have recourse to the polling that was carried down the street and in stores to meet consumers. Now it has a formidable media: social media (blogs, forums, social networks, microblogs …). Not only are they freely accessible, but they are “delivered” with all the necessary tools (search engines, rankings …). It looks like nothing, but it is a major change in how brands can understand their relationship with customers / prospects.
No, I’m not talking to you about a new marketing practice (some call it social marketing or pinko marketing) but really only about marketing.
I’d like to remove immediately ambiguity that may exist with practices such as emailing: when I speak of marketing, I refer to the substantive work (study of the needs / constraints / reasons / concerns of customers and prospects, analysis of the perceived value, collecting feedback from users …) that will feed a future strategy, not tactics to boost sales in a timely manner (emailing, buying keywords …).
I am not saying that these practices are not effective, they just respond to a logical short-term and they too tend to bridge a gap in brand strategy (positioning, promise …) that is very expensive in social media as dissatisfied customers rarely mince their words when they speak.
Similar to visits to point of sale or on the floor of call-centers, presence on social media is a very effective way for brands to be present on the field to:
- Analyze market responses to a product / offer
- Check the positioning of the product vis-a-vis the world of competition or the perceived value of a brand
- Study the flow of prospects looking for information or advice prior to the act of purchase (search for alternative)
- Listen to customers in their phase of ownership of a product or operation of a service (post-purchase sentiment)
- Anticipate renewal phase
In short, social media represents a unique opportunity for brands to collect quality raw data (no filter nor interpretation) on their brand, their products, customers… This is a genuine gold mine freely accessible. Obviously there is important work to be done to collect and analyze all this but I always find it very deceiving to outsource this task. While a buzz campaign (and other one time operation) may be outsourced to an agency for various reasons (lack of time, knowledge …), it is really a wrong move to lose this direct link with the market.
That is why I consider that the research and analysis of conversations on social media should be treated as field work and be recognized as such, not like the latest fashion of the moment (“what ?! you do not tweet for refurbishing”).
I know that this work can be converted into human cost (the famous FTE or Full Time Equivalent), but what is more important than being in direct contact with customers / prospects ?