Following the Social Media Money

Bruno Psysapiens Bezerra com o boo-virusWhat’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.

Smart marketers tend to invest more dollars where volumes are high and margins are high, and less when the expected outcome is otherwise. 

I tend to think of Sony Ericsson as a fairly smart marketer, based on my hypothesis that they’re focused on the consumer–they’ve got a great assortment of cell phones and get generally very good reviews for the products, which are eye-catching and (to my mind, anyway) competitive with anything out there.

So how much is Sony spending on the Bringing Purple Back campaign?  Not much.

Let’s take a look at what I’ve found this morning:

  1. Prizes of just $2,393.  Six lousy free cell phones and one grand prize of a $599 gift card, positioned as a free pair of designer shoes. (Why not a phone and a free year of AT&T service?  But I digress.)  No million dollar sweeps.  Not even a free phone a day.  Six over the course of a six week promotion.
  2. Short promotion length.  Six weeks.  Unless something is absolutely crazily viral, it takes a couple of weeks at minimum to get a campaign off the ground.  By the time things are up and running, it’s game over.  The excessively short time frame smells of a budget compromise.
  3. PPC buys of $0.  Go to Google and Yahoo and try to search for “Sony Ericsson 750a”.  While I don’t expect the Bringing Purple Back website to pop, why no PPC spend?  (I tried a number of different KW searches including the obvious “Purple Cell Phone” and came up snake eyes.)

Say the agency fees for the planning and site were $300K.  Sony Ericsson spent over $88 million just a couple of years ago to sponsor the WTA women’s tennis tour.  What do you think gets daily attention back at HQ?

In conclusion, I have to believe that either this social effort is either:

  1. Not worth much to Sony Ericsson and given an appropriate amount of investment and care.
  2. A botched effort, due to poor planning and low budget (see the PPC buy screw-up above).
  3. A test.

If it’s got the right amount of effort associated with it, given the expected ROI, then OK.  (I still have to believe that some PPC, particularly at the kickoff when you might get some search attempts, makes sense.)

If it’s a botch, then I hope there’s a good campaign debrief on the calendar for Sony Ericsson and Iris to review execution against objectives and so forth.

What do you think of the effort? Might it work?  Could purple be the new black?  Do you like the Z750a phone?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Marco Gomes

One thought on “Following the Social Media Money

  1. Mark

    Apparently, the folks at Iris are only interested in comments on their website that support the “bringing back purple” theme.

    My very polite comment that their assertion on the home page of a Grand Prize gift of a $600 gift card was incorrect (it’s actually $599) wasn’t approved.

    Is Iris or Sony Ericsson REALLY interested in social buzz (which always means negative or irrelevant comments, as well as positive)?

    Reply

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