Friday, October 23, 2015

The New Community Marketing Model

I promised during the last post entitled, “Community Marketing Malpractice to touch in this sequel on the “new model” that has replaced the marketing paradigms that were found so broken ten years ago.

For many marketers, not just community marketers, nothing has really changed. It is tragic that their marketing practices remain frozen in time even though they began to lose steam thirty to fifty years ago.

Oh, they may have added some new jargon and layered on a new tactic or two such as digital but at the core, their approach really hasn’t changed from what was done more than two generations ago.

To be fair, many community marketers who want to change remain captive to stakeholders and officials who are trapped in the past.

Overall, though, at the root of this inertia is a multi-billion dollar “industrial complex” that in the words of Seth Godin is trapped because “no one owns the problem,” so “no one is working very hard to fix it.”

When no one appears to be taking accountability, a friend of mine calls that, “No one owning the file.”

Casualties are not only malpractice and negligence in marketing but a failure at its own hand of a model that has until now underwritten information and entertainment in our culture.

Those marketers, though, who are blazing a new model have one thing in common.  They never saw marketing as static, not because they have “schpilkas,” a yiddish term used to mean “ants-in-the-pants.”

They understand that the underlying purpose of marketing is differentiation and that includes differentiation of how one conducts marketing.

These pioneers are also fortunate to have stakeholders who give them that latitude.

So what is the new marketing model?  For one, it is truly data-driven which means that advertising is dead and that doesn’t just mean traditional advertising.

The essence of new paradigms is almost always found evident in the ones that are replaced.

Marketers have long distinguished earned media from paid media, although both cost money.  The latter is an attempt to buy consumer attention while the former involves working hard to earn it.

In the old days, it meant generating interest through publicity including news coverage (earned) vs. trying to buy that attention (advertising,) which has always been much more cost-effective.

But today it involves a wide range of ways to engage customers including “search, social and content marketing.”  It is why analysts predict that by next year marketing will involve greater technology budgets than organizations typically devote to IT overall.

Another equally important element of this new marketing model is the importance of content design.

Others helping to shape this new model distinguish earned, owned and paid media with things such as a web and/or mobile site, blogs and social media channels falling under “owned” media and search engine optimization overlapping with “earned” media.

They still use paid media but only where its turn-on ratio far exceeds any turn-off such as where the medium reinforces owned and earned media, e.g. an official visitors guide to a community or state or local, state or regional lifestyle magazines and websites.

One of the key metrics is Word of Mouth (WOM) impact on business.  Studies show that two-thirds will be offline and one-third will be via social sites, blogs, reader boards and photo and video sharing tracking positive, neutral and negative.

Recent studies show that two-thirds of the impact of word of mouth is direct and one-third is as an amplifier of paid media.  The impact is also more immediate compared to traditional media.

Up to 80% of offline WOM occurs in the first two weeks as well as up to 95% of online WOM, compared to between 30 and 60% for television.  WOM drives 5 times more sales than paid advertising impressions.

It happens that in Durham, North Carolina where I live, the DMO is one of the first in North America to use an approach to measuring WOM called The Net Promoter Score.

Building on its pioneering public opinion research, the Durham DMO uses the method to not only measure promoters, passives and detractors among both internal and external audiences but the net strength of those sentiments.

It measures how likely people are to recommend visiting Durham.  More on the latest results in a few weeks but based on studies of the sources consumers find most trustworthy, it is one of the most crucial marketing metrics.

Analysts have also found that earned and owned media has 10 to 100 times the value of a paid advertisement.

Nielsen, which is in the business of quantifying traditional paid advertising, has found that “on average, expert content lifted familiarity of a brand 88% more than branded content and 50% more than user reviews.”

They also found that expert content far outperforms paid content for lifting purchase consideration.  Other Nielsen studies have found that organic search wins out over paid search results on Google and Bing, for instance, 94% of the time.

The new paradigms for marketing are more staff intensive and require a lot harder work as well as a pioneering and innovative organizational culture.

They also require new levels of sincerity and authenticity as consumers grow ever more vigilant about content and media in general.

It will be both/and for a while longer as all such shifts are but the fulcrum has shifted quickly and dramatically in favor of earned and owned content compared to paid content.

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