Monday, August 31, 2009

Indianapolis Advertisers/Marketers Don't Read This Post

If you are a professional advertiser or marketer in Indianapolis do not read this post. Go away, don't read any further.

Okay, now that those folks are gone, check out this very interesting and progressive campaign run by the quickly growing, and popular underground toy company Kidrobot out of New York. Go HERE to see how they used QR codes and a fun scavenger hunt idea to promote their new line of Dunnies toys. This kind of initiative is not necessarily new and has proven effective in many cases.

If you are not familiar with QR codes and how they can be utilized for various marketing initiatives simply Google search the term and you will get all you need to know.

We (The Basement) have proposed very similar ideas to various groups that we work with, and some that we would like to work with. What is interesting to me is how different the reactions have been from different groups we have pitched these ideas to. I live in Indianapolis, have worked here my entire career and am yet to work with few, VERY FEW, who are willing to execute a progressive campaign like this on behalf of a client. We have pitched progressive initiatives like this to our neighbors to the south, a mere 1.5 hours away in Louisville and they have at a minimum been receptive, listened and are willing to take it to their clients to see if there is interest. In some instances we have some folks very excited about moving forward with a unique batch of projects that will most definitely get their client a lot of earned media and increased traction with their customers and increased sales.

To be fair, we have a few Indy clients that have taken a walk on the "wild side" with us and have seen the results of significant sales, large online experience times, educated customers, huge increases in brand awareness and tons of earned media and more.

That being said, why is the Indy market so resistant to change? So resistant to new, direct and effective techniques in marketing and advertising? Is this a cultural thing? Is it the Midwest as a whole? Not just Indy, but other Midwest markets? I, for the life of me, do not understand why new and proven marketing techniques like QR codes, augmented reality, sophisticated micro site strategies, etc. are so strongly resisted in my beloved hometown. These techniques are good enough and quite often very successful and effective for those that reside elsewhere in places like New York, California, Seattle, Kentucky, Texas, Minnesota, etc. so why are they shunned in the Circle City?

We have some good clients and relationships with smart people in Indy, so I ask again, why is Indy waiting so long to progress as it relates to marketing, advertising and media? The market deserves more and the clients deserve more. Let's be clear, I am not criticizing, I am asking the questions.

Since my friends from Indy are not reading this I guess I will not get any answers to my questions.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Using Social Media? The Bascis Still Apply

For the last couple of years social media has taken a lot up a lot of the conversation between businesses and those marketers and even advertisers responsible for growing that business.

My recommendation is that you treat social media like a friendly neighbor. Friendly neighbors are happy to engage and chat as long as there is something to talk about. Barging onto your friendly neighbors property only to waste their time with idle chatter about topics that they have no interest in is likely to result in a cold shoulder.

I have sat back and watched several "experts", self proclaimed gurus, marketers, advertisers, and several consultants proclaim social media as the new silver bullet. Folly, I say. Social media is like any other communication tool that is widely used and highly desired for exploitation by those trying to sell their wares.

Think of something as basic as the mail. Back when the US Postal service started it was used by individuals to communicate. Letters were sent back and forth and it was not originally designed to deliver millions of pieces of direct mail advertising, aka "junk mail." Look at what the gross majority of mail has become.

Now let's look at email. Email started as a simple communication tool. It is still utilized as such, but there are millions upon millions of marketing messages and spam delivered everyday. This tool has quickly evolved over a very short period of time.

Social media is rapidly going down a similar path. MySpace launched as a simple tool to expose and promote new music and bands to local markets. What is it now? Does anyone even know? It grew quickly, sold for $500 million, and within a few years since its big sale has rapidly become a second or third fiddle to Facebook and Twitter. Stop to think about that for a minute, sold for $500 million, and a few short years later it is largely disregarded and not even mentioned in many social media circles and discussions. Amazing.

What makes marketers think that everyone wants to hear about their wares or even want to be "fans" of their product or service? Fans being really anyone who took 20 seconds to be a "friend" of your page. That does not even equate to a qualified lead in many instances. Social media is just that - social. It is a great tool to keep up with friends, meet new friends and keep tabs on family. It is very personal. It is fun. It is yours, not Burger King's, or GM's or Wal-Mart's.

That being said, do the basic fundamentals of marketing apply to social media? I tend to think that you can take the basic fundamentals of marketing and multiply them by about 50 to stand a chance in succeeding in growing business through social media. So beware of those that try to sell you social media strategies that have no fundamental basis or experience in permission-based, operations-first, foundational marketing. There is no foundation there and most likely you are buying snake oil and a strategy sure to tick off your customers and potential advocates.