Social Media’s Epic Marketing Failure

Lawyers love social mediaLet’s be honest about social media.  It’s a great tool for people to talk to each other.  Lawyers and police love it for the great trail of data it leaves when they are putting their cases together for prosecution.  Marketers love it because its low or no cost.  They think they are doing something when they use social media.

As a news outlet, it is not much better than the “telephone” game we used to play as a kid.  As a marketing venue, it certainly does a good job of reaching the already converted and committed.

But social media’s marketing failure is much greater than its news failure.  It diverts resources that could be used to help a business grow.  It counts things that don’t matter at the risk of those that do.

Most of all, it violates one of the tenants of all marketing.

It doesn’t get attention.

Remember, attention, interest, desire, action?  AIDA.  The description of how people move through a marketing channel has changed little in the past 100 years.  McKinney tried to “reinvent” the funnel by suggesting it was a “trigger” that began a marketing feedback loop.

Then again, while the entire world of ad agencies and the millions of “social media experts and agencies” subscribe to the idea “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t matter,” the economy continues to swoon.  While the idea of counting is absolutely a correct idea, lets count what matters–like revenue and cash flow.

Businesses stop focusing on sales and revenue and focus on tweets and likes at their own peril.  The fatal flaw of social media marketing is not the distraction it has become.  A recent research study indicates 61% of small businesses have seen NO improvement in their sales from social media marketing.

The fatal flaw is the violation of the marketing paradigm.  Social media, except in those cases where something “goes viral” doesn’t get attention.  If I don’t know you exist, how do I know to look for you.  Maybe my friends will tell me about it if you are that remarkable.  Chances are they won’t. My friend Scott McKain has written a new book called Create Distinction that is a must read.

Mainstream media has an advantage in one crucial area–it interrupts and grabs attention.  Without attention, getting someone to buy your product becomes an exceptionally difficult thing to do.

Much of what’s called social media marketing today is really content marketing by another name.  If you “write it, produce it, create it,” they will come is just as much a fallacy today as it ever was.

 

 

Marketing’s Dangerous Echo Chamber

Marketing echo chamber definedMarketing by echo chamber can kill your business.  Its not just small business owners who believe everyone thinks and acts just like them.  Marketing agencies can be swept away too.

Doug Garnett from Atomic Direct :

“far too many (business ad decisions) ad agency decisions are based on personal preference and neighborly anecdote. It also explains the ad biz obsession with digital – resulting in spending that far outpaces it’s effectiveness.”

An echo chamber is a place where you hear only your own voice coming back to you in a delayed fashion.  Generally, its a fun experience.  Maybe you can even remember the first time your heard that kind of an echo as a kid.  Harmless fun.

Death by Echo Chamber Marketing

When it comes to your marketing, the echo chamber will kill your business.  Entrepreneurs have the worst problem with echo chambers.  The business they created with their own hands, their own ideas, and their own sweat is endangered by the very skill set that enabled them to take the risk.

Here are a few symptoms of echo chamber Marketing.

  • Your revenue is stagnant or down
  • You only listen to pitches from people you know
  • You think everyone uses media like you
  • You are going to run the same promotions next year you did this year
  • You think you are the smartest person in the room

There are great local examples of echo chamber marketing in Billings.  Almost any purchase of time on either cable supplier is a definition of echo chamber.  Expecting a cable ad buy to make your business improve is akin to putting your life savings on 36 red and spinning the wheel.  The usage of cable is so low gambling might actually be more effective.

The Billings Gazette with a reach of only sightly more than 15% of all of Yellowstone County residents gets enormously overbought.  Its a great example of businesses and ad agencies stuck in what they think versus marketing realities.

It is echo chamber marketing at its best.

Should you Billings Echo Chamber marketing think this doesn’t apply to you or your business, take a look at this chart from the Media Behavior Institute.  This is a chart of how real people use media compared to how industry pros (ad agency people) use media.  The same chart looking at entrepreneurs instead of agency people would probably have similar scores.

Notice the huge disparity between the general population and people who do advertising for a living.  If you intend to win and grow your business, you must  focus on what real people do.

The echo chamber was fun when you were young.  Take a moment to see if you are still in that chamber.  It will kill your business.

Social Media Marketing Fails to Work

businesses focusing on social media marketing are going out of businessSocial media marketing violates a major marketing model–which is why it fails to work in many cases.

I’m sure there are people in the group who will write chapter and verse about the benefits of SMM.  There are studies showing how it works, how much it generates, ROI, etc.

One of the big questions I have is its ability to gather attention, the first principle of AIDA.  If you don’t have a market presence to start with, social media seems unlikely to me to generate it.

Viral Marketing is Different

Certainly, if you can generate a viral buzz or meme using SMM, you are gathering attention.  When everyone is trying to create the next big thing (sorry Samsung), when do you get above the noise?  When and how do people who don’t know about your product or service find you?

The internet has become a non stop cacophony of exactly the kind of marketing people want to avoid–interruption marketing.  Look at the number of pages whose video players are set to auto play.  Add to the noise the delayed flash pop ups, fly ins, roll overs, hovers and so forth and you have a medium that is way noisier and more full of crappy unrelated content than any TV, radio station, FSI, or fashion magazine.

Marketing by Word of Mouth

How is social media marketing different?  Other than its cheap.

In the old days of Mad Men ad agencies,  three martini lunches, and expensive compelling creative only we cared about, social media marketing was called something different.

It was “word of mouth”.  To the degree brands believe they can control the thoughts and actions of people who use or diss their products is the level at which they delude themselves.