A recent article in the New York Times got me thinking about the psychology of marketing again, and how some basic principles are used or under-used in social media marketing.
“Warning: Habits May Be Good for You” explores how an anthropologist turned to marketing experts from CPG companies like Procter & Gamble to help increase the incidence of hand-washing with soap after using the toilet in the nation of Ghana to improve the health of children. Obviously, this was an important effort and I was encouraged to see marketing practitioners as instrumental in helping achieve success in this endeavor.
As I was reading the article, it struck me that many of the techniques used are found in Robert B. Cialdini‘s classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. I’d lent out my copy a few years ago and, thankfully, had to buy a new version which includes an epilogue written by Dr. Cialdini in 2007. My re-read then triggered a few thoughts on social media.
If the social media crowd can stop navel-gazing long enough to do some quick research and scientific work, boy will money be made. [More after the jump.]
What’s the value placed on a social media marketing campaign by the marketers that develop the campaign? It’s hard to tell, because one typically can’t get access to the key metrics associated with the campaign, particularly sales attributed to the effort and ROI.
I was intrigued by a new social push by Sony Ericsson for the Z750a flip phone, created by their agency, Iris. The campaign is titled “Bringing Purple Back.”
Well, neither Sony Ericsson nor Iris would give me any objectives for the campaign. Neither was any information or speculation found on unofficial Sony Ericsson blog sites about the campaign.
Being an inquisitive guy, I decided to use the crude but effective research technique of following the money to learn more.
Our products are guaranteed to give 100% satisfaction in every way. Return anything purchased from us at any time if it proves otherwise. We do not want you to have anything from L.L. Bean that is not completely satisfactory.
Unlike a lot of companies, L.L. Bean really lives by their guarantee.
I admit that I actually enjoy being upsold. That’s partly because it’s what I do for a living. It’s also because I want to make certain that I’ve purchased the right thing for the problem I’m trying to solve.
That means I’ve got two all wheel drive vehicles in Northern Virginia because it sometimes snows here and I just might need to pick up the kids at school in the middle of the day.
And it means I’ve got the 8 GB iPhone instead of the 4 GB version because I might get stuck on a plane for a few hours and just might need a few more Van Halen albums to while away the time.
Give me a good value proposition, with clear benefits, at the right time and I’ll buy.
Just don’t give up after the first time, if I don’t buy. Be persistent, like Checks Unlimited.
And sometimes I just shake my head. My apparently never-ending stream of poorly executed direct mail continues, with the latest effort being a shockingly bad example from Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Visa. It appears to be the result of a co-op promotion, which may account for the execution; nobody at either Marriott or Visa felt they were responsible for the results of the effort, and it shows.
For the record, the family and I are fans of Fairfield Inns and signed up for Marriott’s Rewards program as the result of numerous stays at their Hazelton, PA location. The staff is always great, the rooms clean and cookies and DVD movies are always enthusiastically offered to us when we check in at 9 or 10 pm the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.
Now, if only those responsible for their direct response efforts could feel the same enthusiasm. Rather than rant and rave, here’s a PDF file of the quick analysis I’ve sent to Marriott’s marketing team.
For the first time in a long time I took a few minutes to run through the Valpak co-op mailing I received last week.
After a few minutes of looking at the offers, I came up with a short list of things to consider if you’re using Valpak (or other co-ops) as a marketing channel. The short list is powered by my own past experience and might stimulate you to think of some other ideas.
Before I get started, here’s a rundown of what I found inside. There was a total of 43 inserts inside the envelope (which featured, bizarrely, a promotion for the television program CSI: NY on the OE and which distracted me from the 1:50,000 possibility that there might be a check for $100 inside). I sorted the inserts into three categories:
National advertisers (19, 44% of the total). These included Netflix, DirecTV, Verizon, Omaha Steaks and others. Of those, 4 (27%) of the inserts did not use the standard 8 1/4″ x 3 1/2″ format and instead paid additional for a heavier and/or different stock insert.
Regional/franchise (8, 19% of the total). Included here were ads for the local Gold’s Gym, Kaiser Permanente and Molly Maids. Of these, only 1 (12%) of the inserts deviated from the standard insert.
Local advertisers (15, 35% of the total). These ranged from local dentists to home improvement providers to Anthony’s, a restaurant down the street–which included some coupons that might finally get me to take the family there!. Only 1 insert (7%) strayed from the Valpak standard format.
Valpak ran one house insert, promoting an offer of $350 to target 10,000 homes for new advertisers, a CPM of $35.
We can immediately see some ideas, just from this basic sort.
Over the years I, and my clients have labored mightily at our marketing efforts. Hours of careful thought about our marketing objectives, followed by more hours of careful analysis of past test results. And even more analysis of our lists and target audiences, followed by hour upon hour of agonized copywriting and creative development. Lastly, double- and triple-checking test emails, lettershop insertion samples and testing our telemarketing scripts in every imaginable way.
After all that careful planning and analysis, what could possibly go wrong?
The site build is progressing well today. The CMS platform is up and stable, although page load times aren’t acceptable yet and a few things are being examined on the server side.
We’ve installed a number of plugins to give us more flexibility when adding content. One we’re experimenting with now allows easy addition of YouTube and other videos. And who would be more appropriate to test this with than the immortal David Ogilvy?
This video looks to be from the 80′s when Mr. Ogilvy was serving as the chairman of O&M in India. If you happen to know the audience this was filmed for, I’d appreciate your feedback.I’ll have more on Mr. Ogilvy and others in the future, but for now I bring you David Ogilvy in his own words, on the differences between general advertising and direct response and his advice to general advertising agencies.