Advertising Through Giving More

I’m still working to “justify” the use of social marketing to the world of advertising in which I work now. This means I’m always looking around for words of wisdom.Why re-invent the wheel when there are some very smart people out there who’ve already done the analyzing for me. I found this: “Ask how much you are willing to GIVE to your customers. It’s not about you, or your brand.” and it got me thinking about my job and the role I can play, as well as the role advertising must play.

My job is to analyze data and make presentations for salespeople. Most of the time, they don’t want analysis since they already know everything and just want me to put in pages with lots of pretty products.  All that these pages do is say “Oh we’re a great company and we’ve got stuff to sell you.” Sounds like we want them to do for us, at least give us their money. But where is what we can do for them? Does the particular product we’re pushing even work for that client?

Take the money out of the equation. Yes, they’re going to have to pay for whatever the product is, but really it’s about what our product can GIVE to our client, which in turn can help them GIVE more to their customers. So now I’ve started focusing on touchpoints, touchpoints that specifically work for a client. Places where what we do will intersect with what their customers do throughout their day. This is where social media comes in.  Well, it’s where it should come in.

Client is a well known sports shoe manufacturer (for example), and research shows that their shoppers are all ages, with and without kids, middle-income bracket and higher. Their higher end shoes are more for athletes, while their mid-range shoes appeal to more image-conscious teens. They’ve also got a nice line of young children’s shoes. With all these differing demographics, they can’t just do a bird-pellet loaded shotgun approach and expect to gain depth. They’ve got to be where their customers are.

The athletes might be watching ESPN, or reading Runner’s World, or checking out the sports section of a local newspaper. They could also be following runnersrun on twitter, or reading to catch up on the latest blogs by runners. Or maybe they’re searching the internet for training tips. If we must be where they are, why are so few advertising companies utilizing social networking in their mix?

There is another piece of giving to clients that needs to happen: sharing of knowledge. In order to know what products best fit your client, you have to know your client. Example: a client is having a contest on their website which in this instance guarantees foot-traffic but also fits perfectly in with a certain demographic that the sales representative isn’t even thinking about. The case gets made in the presentation through data, and the salesperson is given this information. The question is, do they use it? They should be.

This is where social marketing comes into play. Social marketing makes it possible to get tidbits of knowledge that then inform your thinking. Look at real estate professionals, they’ve totally embraced social  marketing. They’ve got blogs, twitter, they’re Linked in, on Facebook. It’s all geared to getting to know their customers and building the relationships. And gathering and sharing knowledge that connects them to the clients/houses. I’ve seen for myself on twitter people shouting out to their followers asking for advice on houses in the area they’re moving to. It may take time to work up the chain, but that will probably net that person an agent in the new town.

Social marketing IS new. So is looking at advertising as a giving instead of a taking. But this is what needs to be happening. Especially in an economy that is struggling, an advertising company can’t just be thinking about how they can survive. They need to think about how they can make their customers survive and grow. It’s not a trickle down economy, it’s a trickle up. If we want to see a profit we need to start building those profits from the ground up.

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