Stop spending - Start investing!

As brands now are planning for 2010 media and marketing budgets I hope they are realizing where their existing and potential new customers are, and their behaviour.

If you type in online media sites or brand sites into you will see that the trend is clear - traffic going down or flat at best. If you type in any social networking site you will see that most of them are growing - especially Facebook. Search within main categories on Google is in decline.

This means that people are aggregating information through RSS feeds, Twitter and Facebook Fan Pages and that people are spending their time on social networking sites where they create and receive content about i.e brands from their networks rather than actively searching main media sites or brand sites. If you just hired a person naming himself Social Media Expert or Guru, my guess is that this person would advise you to start LISTENING.

"Mrs. Marketing Director, you need to LISTEN! What are people saying about your brand? Where are they? What are they doing? Who are they? When we have done this, let´s get onto twitter, youtube and facebook and start conversations! Conversation is KING! People are in charge! "

Personally I am a bit tired of reading and hearing LISTEN all the time. Yes, it is crucial to use new tools that has enhanced our ability to listen to the marketplace. It´s important to use these data and insights for setting baselines before and during a strategy phase. Use and set up these tools and use data from multiple sources continuously to gain insights and identify patterns for adjusting initiatives launched based on the strategy. And then repeat the whole cycle again and again, until - best case - you don´t need awareness through paid media anymore. Read more about this here;

What´s most important is to take charge and lead. Innovate, create amazing awareness and ACTIVATE. There´s a tremendous opportunity for brands right now. Today brands have the chance of becoming more relevant than ever. Facebook might live on forever, albeit I am 100% sure something new will come that people will migrate to. Something that lets people easier pursuit their main passions. And here´s the key. Why not do it as a brand? People want more qualitative information about a lot less and the possibility to participate.

My advise is that you start investing in multiple niches that fits your target groups different tribes best and help them get more out of the products and services they own. Empower and engage in a market where people is getting more and deeper connected to each other by launching initiatives/ideas based on an ideal, tools or content, that helps groups of people with common niche passions to continuously strengthening their relationships or build new ones.

Create valuable time that moves people from just liking you to LIKING TO BUY FROM YOU. It´s not what your product does that matters most to people. It´s how they SOCIALIZE AROUND IT that matters.

Yes, you NEED paid media to create awareness, support and kick start multiple marketing initiatives, but it needs to be aligned with an holistic approach and planning of a strategy (which needs to be highly adjustable and repetitive) that is set up for the reality of 2010 where there´s no difference between traditional marketing and digital marketing. It´s marketing. Period. The buy button? What other people in their networks are doing. You want positive ROI? This is my suggestion;

Reduce your paid media spending by 50-75% and instead focus on investing in strategies and initiatives that makes your brand ubiquitous in a highly relevant way 365 days a year in todays increasingly socialized marketplace.

Walk The Talk:

EDIT: Read also Gavin Heaton´s excellent post:

3 responses
Hey Joakim,

Nice read. It's been neat to watch the growth of this idea of "liking to buy from a brand". I like your use of "investing" within that context. It may very well change how we contemplate the old world tasks of hiring an agency, purchasing of media and disseminating of our messages.

Sean, thank you for commenting. Definitive change ahead. Hopefully the numbers will balance with the human aspect in regards to strategies.
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