Infinite Touches vs. Advertising

In the previous posts in this series, Social Media is Not Advertising. Duh!It’s the End of Segmentation As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) and Infinite Touches – Segmentation on Steroids we talked about the proper uses of social media (not traditional advertising), the lessons of Obama’s 2012 campaign (microsegmentation), and a little bit about our Infinite Touches™ process for using social media to create mass relationships. This post begins to examine current social media practice vs. our Infinite Touches approach.

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Advertising and Social Media

The article that inspired this series of posts is entitled Brand Engagement Rate Still 1%, But Facebook Is OK With That which appeared in Ad Age on 11/15/12. In addition to the implications in the title, several comments in the article got my blood boiling. Foremost among them was this assertion:

Facebook is becoming more and more like traditional media. It may be time for advertisers to move on from worrying about how many fans they have to instead explore how many category buyers Facebook can reach, for what cost, and to what effect.

That’s a rubbish idea.

There’s some truth in the first part of this statement – Facebook  is being used by advertisers like just another channel. That doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t make it effective.

But the conclusion trots out the old advertising paradigm: there are channels and you address them by the shadows cast on the wall[1] by customers, known as demographics.

Yes, advertisers should stop worrying about how many fans they have and start measuring the intensity of their fandom and their effectiveness. I can’t tell you how many brand pages I’ve liked on Facebook never to return. So what was my contribution to Facebook’s People Talking About This algorithm’s score worth? Zip.

The Ad Age article hits several other interesting, if not entirely believable points, like:

[The] concept of brand loyalty is a myth and that marketers should worry less about reaching a few loyal fans and heavy buyers than hitting a large amount of light and medium buyers. This orientation leads to a rejection of the notion that social media should be privileged over other media that can help the marketer in its central quest of reaching as many people as possible.

Notice that the quote talks about “reaching” people. Not engaging. Not creating a relationship. Just reaching. That’s all that advertising, as currently practiced, can hope for: If I put the right message in front of you enough times, you might buy my stuff.

You’ll hear marketers talk about how they can measure the effectiveness of a direct mail campaign but can’t measure results from Facebook. There’s a good reason for this. Facebook is not direct mail.

Direct mail is a proven but extremely wasteful way of creating sales. A great direct mail campaign might get a response of 5 – 7 percent. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) claims that direct mail boasts an average 4.4% response rate, compared to email’s rate of 0.12%, according Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the DMA.[2] So their message is don’t use digital; kill more trees wasting 95 percent of your advertising mail to get a weak response.

The only good thing about that approach is it’s predictable. And that’s why some advertisers look at social media as a giant direct mail campaign.

Create and Enable Evangelists

We feel that the way to use social media for marketing is not via an advertising approach. For the first time in history, you can truly know your customers on a mass level. That’s the incredibly valuable capability that social media puts in your hands. Like the shopkeepers of old who greeted you by name and asked you about your kids when you entered their stores, you can finally begin to know your customer as something other than a demographic.

The idea of social media is not to segment and categorize customers into various demographic piles, but to find a way to create relationships with them. Using social media, you are not limited by advertising approaches, but can have Infinite Touches™ of your customers.

Wait, you say. I have millions of customers. How can I create relationships with all of them?

That’s the challenge, isn’t it?

And we’ll examine that question in the next post.

Next up: Scaling Social Media with Infinite Touches

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What Others Are Saying

Infinite Pipeline offers practical advice for using social media to extend relationship selling online. It’s a great way to get crazy-busy prospects to pay attention.”
—Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies

“Sales is all about relationships and trust. Infinite Pipeline is the ‘how to’ guide for maximizing social networks to find and build relationships, and generate trust in our digital age.”
—Sam Richter, best-selling author, Take the Cold Out of Cold Calling (2012 Sales book of the year)

Infinite Pipeline will be the authority on building lasting relationships through online social that result in bottom line business.”
—Lori Ruff, The LinkedIn Diva, Speaker/Author and CEO of Integrated Alliances

[1] Allegory of the Cave – Wikipedia

[2] DMA: Direct mail response rates beat digital – Direct Marketing News