I just read another interesting post by Jeremiah Owyang, Forrester Report: Best and Worst of Social Network Marketing, 2008. I see this as an affirmation of previous posts of mine, The Fallacy of Community and Where the Hell is Matt (2008) Probably Won’t Proceed, along with Chris Abraham’s Community Leaders Make Communities. There’s caveats, of course.
The report seems to look how effective a social network marketing campaign was in terms of creating actual social networking (and what some would call community development) as opposed to how effective these campaigns were on actual sales or perhaps on longterm brand enhancement. That’s key, because we’re talking methodologies here, not results. So we’re looking at the opinions of influential industry analysts vs. the strategies developed by marketing professional who may or may not know what they’re doing when it comes to social networking marketing.
Turns out the industry analysts aren’t all that impressed with the work of the marketers.
Says Jeremiah, “many brands are wasting their time, money, and resources to reach communities in social networks without first understanding that the use case is very different than a microsite campaign.”
So let’s clarify that. What Jeremiah is saying is that too many marketers are, in their attempts to implement a community style marketing campaign, faltering because they are too focused in bringing the visitor (and potential community member) to the product website as opposed to actually fostering community development. Hence, a community never really develops in this community development effort. It’s not a criticism of interactive marketing…it’s a observation that marketers are too interactive marketing focused in their community marketing efforts.
In other works, if it ain’t a community, it ain’t community marketing.
But let’s first take a look at the report…
The gang at Forrester looked at 16 campaigns in four different industry categories (media, technology, automotive, and consumer products). They looked at some of these campaigns whether they existed on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Imeem, and Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces. They also ranked these efforts by a scorecard. Jeremiah doesn’t get into how they chose the grading system but he does point out that only one of the sixteen got a passing grade.
This is horrible. It’s disgusting. It’s embarrassing.
For the record, the passing grade when to the BMW Series 1 Graffiti Contest on Facebook.
Even as I look at that case, which is better explained by ChasNote’s post, I’m left wondering if this campaign is successful. Or was it just done correctly according to social network marketing theory?
But 15 out of 16 are failures? I don’t know where to start. That clearly shows me that A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY’RE DOING.
I’m wondering if principles are being ignored, or they’re just not known.
I’m wondering if these campaigns are being hatched by traditional agencies who, by their reputation as top marketing consultants, have the ears of corporate marketing decision makers and create these campaigns…not knowing what the hell they are doing, or…
…are those corporate decision makers watering down campaigns because they can’t grasp community development and impatiently demand traditional methods, or…
…are these being done by ‘social media specialists’ who talk a good game, but are basically a bunch of theorists who get by on their reputation in social media circles?
I’ve seen all three of the above.
And lastly, I’m wondering about the effectiveness of the Graffiti campaign itself. I’d like to know the age ranges and income levels of the 2,585 members of the group. Are they likely buyers of the car? That’s because building an effective community still has to meet a bottom line. Somewhere.