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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Social media or traditional advertising?

Last week, there was a story from Marketing Daily—citing research from ForeSee Results—suggesting that social media doesn’t work as well email, search, or traditional advertising in driving people to a company’s website. I only bring it up because I noticed that it was one of the most-read stories of the week, according to the story rankings offered by MD. I find that a bit scary. To find out why, read the story by clicking on this link, and then join me back here to finish this conversation.

Implications: I’m not going to come to the defense of social media, here. Rather, I’m going to indict the way too many companies are using it. I walked into a fast-food restaurant last week, and there were all kinds of signs asking me to “Friend” the place. First of all, you don’t “friend” anymore, you “Like.” Second of all, why should I? What’s in it for me, other than the chance to be spammed on Facebook with your special of the day? I don’t want to eat at your restaurant every day, and I don’t want to hear from you constantly via Facebook anymore than I want to receive your emails at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The folks who came up with the Pepsi Refresh campaign will tell you social media works just fine, thank you. Not because of what they did with social media, alone. But because of the way they have woven their social media, website and traditional advertising together in a logical, effective way: Motivate through traditional media and social, and then activate through social and website.

To me, the MD story and the ForeSee Results simply reinforce the idea that an integrated approach is better than using all of your resources as if they were pawns in different chess games.

How many different campaigns are you running? Is there one campaign for your legacy media, another for your website, and something different still for your social media efforts? Certainly, each of these weapons could represent a different tactic… but are they supporting a unified strategy for your company?

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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