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SM trumps DM

March 16, 2011

Social Media is a better choice than Direct Marketing …

Compared to Direct Marketing (DM), Social Media (SM) has a slower build but a much longer and more productive tail. Delivered print has low consumption, social media has low penetration (at present) and as a result for most demographics the net effect is a similar reach in pure numbers. That is where the similarity ends. DM is invasive and short-lived. SM is subtly passive (for the most part) and although ‘status updates’ are short-lived, they have long-tail search discovery and platform permanence benefits.

Platform Permanence
A well conceived and implemented SM spend will build a ‘permission based’ audience that
can be leveraged in an ongoing fashion. In cases where the message has real ‘interest’ and value for the consuming community, the media has the capacity to seed and spread. Communication can be further advocated and expanded by the members of the network (in some cases generating true viral network effects). Even in a ‘run-of-the-mill’ campaign, the search, traffic aggregation and advocacy are far superior for SM options than their heritage DM predecessors.

Progressive Improvement
The SM message can be progressive, varied and modified as campaign performance
data is received. A Social Media delivered message has technology, innovation, audience engagement and environmental messages implied as a result of the selected medium of delivery. The ‘implied’ messages, delivered effortlessly, are ‘contemporary’ and ‘in-touch’ and far beyond the stayed media implications of DM. I don’t even need to touch upon the environmental implications. Perhaps even more important is the fact that SM can be re-crafted, modified, tested, changed and otherwise adapted as the campaign happens. The advantage of digital is the ongoing ‘adaptation’ opportunity and the availability of ‘real audience’ metrics (if the managers are listening to their audience).

Platform, Platform, Platform
The three-Ps of SM – Platform, Platform, Platform. While setting up a Social Media campaign may cost more than DM initially, take a little longer, build steadily and progressively – the resulting investment is like ‘Real Estate’. The network growth is permanent (as long as it is maintained) and is strengthened by ongoing effort and expenditure. The longer it has been running, the more effort, and in many cases the continued spend, build a platform framework that has completely different (and ongoing) dynamic that DM just cannot match.
Once a quality and voluminous network is built, the ongoing cost of marketing delivery is by far the lowest per unit of any form of marketing media. It runs continuously, it prompts action and has compounding effect.

Still Rooting for DM?
Wow, hanging in there. Don’t worry Elvis will be back soon and the pesky Internet is also just a fad! Social Media gathers a host of secondary promotion benefits from normal
online search, delivering a broader and longer-lasting audience and providing permanent traffic benefits and organic search improvements (such as Google PageRank inheritance) for other digital marketing assets (for example a corporate or campaign website).

In a future post, I will talk case studies, metrics and what you can expect in raw campaign numbers. For now, don’t fight it. If you’re part of the ten-percent not implementing a social media strategy. Don’t you think the time is NOW. Of course you can keep your DM going as well if it helps you sleep well at night. Multi-channel is all the go!

SM trumps DM … QED!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 17, 2011 9:01 AM

    Hear hear! Now if only we could actually convince those at C level who are post-GFC holding the purse strings (having reduced educated and talented marketing types to mere mouthpieces for the Board) that coffee mugs fliers are a waste of time.

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