Archive for the ‘New Media Marketing’ Tag

The Marketing Wisdom of Kung Fu Panda

My wife just took me on a study break field trip to watch Kung Fu Panda. It is a cute movie that is definitely worth seeing. Aside from enjoying a night out with my wife, I came away with three pieces of wisdom that most definitely apply to marketing in the age of social media. If you haven’t seen the movie and are really concerned about not having the plot spoiled, stop reading now. Everyone else, read on.

1. Let go of the illusion of control.

In the movie, Po’s master, Shifu, is taught by his master, Oogway, that he must give up the “illusion of control” when it comes to the Dragon Warrior. Master Oogway might as well have been talking to the marketing departments of corporations and non-profits alike who think that they can still control the message. Just as Shifu could not control who the Dragon Warrior would be, organizations can not control the message that people hear about their organizations. Sure, they can try, but with the rise of consumer generated content and the death of mass media looming on the horizon, what’s being said about the organization will carry far more weight than what the organization is saying. The much more sustainable approach in this social media environment will be for organizations to stop trying to control the message, and instead, join the conversation in a real, honest manner.

2. Be yourself. Following what seems to work for everyone else won’t work for you.

Po, the pudgy, seemingly inept Panda, couldn’t do the most remedial of the traditional training exercises the kung fu masters could. As a result, his master thought Po could never be the Dragon Warrior…that is until he discovered what motivated Po. As it turns out, Po was motivated by food. When Shifu realized that he would have to train Po differently than the others, Po’s training took off. Like in the movie, realizing what your organization’s “motivation” is will go a long way to making your marketing more effective–not to mention more fun. Too many organizations are adept at throwing around the latest buzz words when they are discussing their marketing plans. What they seem to be unpracticed at is being honest about who they are as an organization and what they really have to say. What I would suggest to those organizations is forget who you think you should be and be yourself!

3. Their is no secret ingredient.

Po finally became the Dragon Warrior when he realized that the dragon scroll held no secret and that being himself was enough. What, you ask, is the secret ingredient organizations seek after? Well, I’m glad you asked. I know I’ll get into some trouble for attacking this sacred cow, but, in my opinion, organizations spend way to much energy and effort thinking and talking about “brand.” “Brand” is a metaphysical construct that is increasingly loosing its relevance. I say good riddance to “brand.” The idea of forgetting about “brand” is almost directly related to letting go of the illusion of control. However, forgetting about “brand” goes a step further. Forgetting about “brand” means that an organization realizes that who they are perceived as varies from person to person and can change with each interaction they have with someone. Forgetting about “brand” can only happen when organizations start to realize that they themselves are citizens of the world that are on a level playing field with their customers/constituents. Forgetting about “brand” means organizations must come down from their ivory towers. To do this, they have to stop “communicating” and start “conversing” with their markets and constituencies. They must do so in a human voice, and, more importantly, they must listen.

I have a question about Non-Profit Marketing

My question is this, “How does Non-profit marketing differ from for-profit marketing?” Are there specific challenges, goals, or restrictions that non-profits face? Are there any ways in which non-profits have an advantage over for-profits when it comes to marketing? I want to know what you think. I will be talking about this topic in the next episode of the Marketing 4 Change podcast and would like to include your responses. Whether you have an idea, a theory, or a 1500 word rant, I want to hear it. Thanks!

Social Media Marketing – Are you an “Animateur” for your brand?

No, that is not a typo for “amateur”.  

The word “Animateur” is certainly a new one on me.  I barely got through two years of high school Spanish and, quite frankly, don’t remember my first two years of college.  So, needless to say, my French is completely non existent outside of being able to order a filet mignon.  The word is one that my school advisor put me on to and I think it deserves a lot of attention from us social media types.  

Animateur: to animate, to bring to life, to enliven, to spark, to create, to produce

This is the definition according to an article on the orchestra musician’s website Polyphonic.org.  The article, entitled An Animateur’s Journey: A report from the field, describes the work that the Philadelphia Orchestra does to bridge the gap between the orchestra and its audience. Each experiment in bridging that gap described in the article is nothing more than social media marketing.

I have witnessed a great deal of discussion as of late on Twitter about “community managers” and what their roles should or shouldn’t be within organizations. Social Media Marketing rockstar Jeremiah Owyang even lays out what he feels to be The Four Tenets of the Community Manager. As I observe the twitter discussions and read Mr. Owyang’s blog post, I am tempted to say that social media marketing types need to abandon the term “community manager” in favor of the term “Animateur”.

I say this for two reasons. First, the word “Animateur” seems to better capture the essence of what everyone seems to want in a “community manager.” Secondly, “Animateur” carries with it more passion and zest than the term “community manager”. Ultimately, I believe it will be easier to inspire a CEO, Board of Directors, Executive Director, VP of Marketing, etc., to fully buy into the benefits of social media marketing with a position that doesn’t sound as sterile as “community manager”.

If you are looking for an example of an “Animateur”, look to Stacey Monk of Epic Change. From the standpoint of social networking and social media marketing, Stacey is doing far more “animating” and “bringing to life” than “managing”. As a result of her role as “Animateur”, her organization has hit the radar of a huge number of people in a short amount of time.

For more info on Stacey and Epic Change, click here to listen to episode 2 of the Marketing 4 Change podcast.

What does “sustainability” mean in marketing?

So, I’m still reading The Ecology of Commerce. In it, Paul Hawken gives a triad of issues that businesses must face in order to be ecologically sustainable. They are, “what it takes, what it makes, and what it wastes.” In short, businesses must consider their actions or production in terms of the resources they consume, the impact the product has, and the resources wasted by the production/product. This may be a stretch, but I see these same concerns as ones that should be faced by marketers as they seek to become more socially responsible.

First, I want to look at “what it takes.” In terms of ecological sustainability, “what it takes” refers to the resources that are depleted in order to produce a product. An example of this would be the necessity of wood-grain trim in automobiles. In order to provide a sense of luxury, valuable trees must be cut down. So, what is “taken” by marketing? If we look at time and attention as a resource, marketing definitely consumes great quantities of these things. How many ads are do see on a daily basis?

Second, what is the relevancy of “what it makes” to marketing? In the ecological sense, “what it makes” refers to the energy and toxins that the products being manufactured require. When I think about this in terms of marketing, I can’t help but think about the uni-directional nature of traditional marketing and the toxic impact that has on consumers. By this I mean that traditional marketing seems to create passive consumers that look to Madison Avenue for their next “need.” To me, this is a lot like turning a grassland that has the ability to produce important things like oxygen and food into a landfill where things are dumped.

Finally, how does “what it wastes” relate to marketing? In terms of the environment, “what it wastes” refers to the tremendous amounts of wasted energy and resources that go into producing products. How much money and human energy goes into producing the giant ad campaigns of major corporations? What if a major automobile manufacturer that spent millions and millions of dollars to advertise during the Super Bowl took those funds and resources and used them to take everyone who purchased one of their cars in the last year out to lunch to discuss the customer’s experience with the car? Which would be a more effective way of creating new customers and maintaining old customers. After all, isn’t word-of-mouth still a powerful marketing tool? Wouldn’t the highly skilled and intelligent women and men in marketing departments around the world be better utilized discovering new ways to connect with customers on a deeper, more conversational level?

An example of what I would consider to be “sustainable” marketing would be Wine Library TV. For those of you unfamiliar with this podcast, Wine Library TV is a show that entertains while it educates about wine. It is hosted by the uber-passionate Gary Vaynerchuk who is the Director of Operations at Wine Library in Springfield, NJ, a wine and spirits merchant site and store. While Gary’s show may not be for everyone, it is hard to argue with its success. I do not pretend to know exactly how much Wine Library’s business has been boosted by Wine Library TV, but I can’t help but imagine that the numbers are impressive. What’s more is that this marketing technique is, in essence, a commercial that people actually want to watch. According to the website, Wine Library TV has about 60,000 viewers per day. As well as being entertaining, Wine Library TV adds value to people’s lives as it educates them on wine and wine tasting. Finally, it is conversational. Gary Vaynerchuk reponds to emails and provides a forum for viewers to discuss the shows and wine. To me, this seems be a great model for sustainable marketing.

Time to change? When will the marketing world embrace a new model??

I am currently reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce. The first few pages of the book paint a stark picture of the future of society if we allow free-market capitalism and the idea that growth will fix everything to continue dominating our lives. While, so far, Hawken is speaking of sustainability in the context of the environmental crisis, I feel that those same forces and ideas have application in the world of marketing and PR.

Does traditional advertising and media have an impact on people like carbon emissions have on the environment? Is there a more sustainable way to conduct marketing and PR? I believe there is and that the future lies in new media and social media marketing. The challenge, however, will be to get organizations to abandon the old definitions of success. On page 6 of the book, Hawken poses the question, “When will the business world look honestly at itself and ask whether it isn’t time to change?” I believe that marketers have to ask themselves the same question.

In a post yesterday on his blog Marketing In The Public Sector, Jim Mintz quoted some statistics about the rise of new media. The post was entitled Social Media Marketing …the Next Wave for Public Sector and Nonprofit Marketers. While the post posed a lot of interesting points, what struck me when I read it was the way media is “fanning out” and what this ultimately means to marketers. If everyone has the ability to be a media producer, marketing and PR will most definitely become a two-way street.

It seems to me that the days of being able to “throw money” at marketing and buy a successful campaign are nearing an end. What seems to be emerging is the need for organizations to tell authentic stories in ways that add value to peoples lives. Furthermore, organizations will have to be open to honest conversation with consumers. I think it will be hard, but necessary, for organizations to let go of the idea that they must control the message. Instead, they will need to be open, honest, and responsive.

So where does new media and social media fit in? While I am excited about the ways that new media like blogging and podcasting can be used by organizations to tell their stories in ways that are conversational and add value to people’s lives, I do realize that they can be manipulated as tools to become just as impact-heavy as television and print ad campaigns. It is my hope that marketers, particularly in the realm of value-driven organizations, will embrace the idea that it is not how many people they reach, but who they reach and how they reach them that truly matters.

New Media, Social Marketing, and Value-driven Organizations — My Senior Study at Goddard College.

There is a great deal of conversation and experimentation these days in the world of new media marketing and social marketing.  From blogging to podcasts to Second Life, companies and organizations are increasingly using new, conversational tools to tell their stories.  For my senior study at Goddard College, I will be looking at the ways that these tools can be used by value-driven organizations, such as non-profits, to perform their marketing and public relations in a more socially responsible way.

Over the course of this year, I will use this blog to document my studies and explore the questions I will be writing about for my senior study.  Also, I will produce a podcast every three weeks on the subject of new media and social marketing for value-driven organizations.  The podcast will include interviews with thought leaders in the fields of new media and marketing, as well as people in the world of value-driven organizations.  You can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.