Wow. Just wow.
Not in a sarcastic “what a load of BS” kinda way, but in a “holy sh*t, that is the most interesting thing I’ve watched all year” kinda way. So to begin with, I’d like to thank Tor for giving us Mark Ritson’s Mumbrella360 video/article to dig into.
It’s hard to find faults or critique such well reasoned and justified theory, in fact, I feel Ritson has really extended my understanding of social’s place within the big wide world of marketing. The biggest take home I had from Ritson was the phrase:
“You must know the difference between strategy and tactics; strategy first, followed by tactics.”
As a young aspiring marketer ( the young parts quickly disappearing, no Birthdays will be counted after 25), it’s easy to see social media as a ends to a means, not a means to an end (did that make sense..?). It’s easy to be pulled into the thought process whereby social and digital marketing are the bee’s knees – that they are a strategy in and of themselves. Working at a completely online company, this thought process is even more entrenched.
This phase doesn’t take away from the fact that social media is a powerful marketing tool within the marketing tactic tool box. But infers there shouldn’t be such as thing as a social media marketing strategy. Social should work as a part of the overall marketing strategy, not as an independent rebel organisation which has defected from the original cause. If social is the best-fit with what the business wants to achieve, and it’s set resources then, by all means, knock yourself out. But, this should be guided by a thoughtful evaluation of all marketing mediums, not the myopic assertion that social is best.
Following from this, Ritson’s points out:
“Social media is a social media.”
I think this is key. Key for formulating marketing strategy where social media is employed as a successful tactic.
No one wants their social feed to be Safeway telling them how fresh strawberries are this week, or ANZ telling us it’s ‘money minded Monday’ (yes, this was a real thing). The usefulness of social is going to be limited for these sorts of ‘unsocial’ companies, where the personal story or brand personality isn’t really that relevant or useful to its core consumers. Sure, they’re great from a customer service perspective (Woolies does this well), but there usefulness outside of this is questionable.
But, if you’re running a company where the brand story, imagery and ‘persona’ of the brand are important to the core target market, then social is likely to have a bigger impact. Take Mecca for example, while they utilise other marketing tactics as part of their marketing strategy (print, personal-selling, outdoor), social is a major component. With over 265K following the brand’s Instagram, it’s clear the numbers are significant. Social is important to such a company because the ‘social’ component is an inherent part of the brand. It’s not just company curated pages at work; the tactic includes utilizing prominent social users to influence consumers into engaging, and ultimately buying from the brand. Social pictures are ‘lifestyle’ porn, with their core target market swooning over new Nars, and skincare flat lays. The brand is integrating itself within the social medium… not just talking at a random audience who probably doesn’t see much value in what they have to say.