Get your marketing right

When I was growing up, one of my all-time favourite cartoons was the one with Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

For anyone not familiar, Wile was (as his name suggests) a coyote, and he was always trying to catch his titular nemesis, the Road Runner (a large bird whose signature sound was “meep meep”).

The problem was, no matter how many times Wile tried to catch Road Runner (and they were numerous!), he always seemed to fail in ways almost as spectacular as his plans were. It usually ended with Wile being flattened, falling off a cliff, being run over by a train or truck and more.

So what has this to do with taking social media and marketing from theory to operational? More than you might imagine.

Planning for Prolonged Success is Crucial

One of Wile’s biggest failings is that he only saw the immediate future and what he could do to make Road Runner his next meal. While short-term goals are fine for your business, it’s the long-term strategy that will see you succeed or fail.

Going for the quick hit may result in initial success, but you have to really plan for prolonged success.

Being fluid with your plans

Twitter and Facebook may be the golden child now, but you only need to look at MySpace and Friendster to see how the mighty can fall. You wouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket offline – why act differently online? Watch to see how networks are being viewed by the analysts and be ready to change ahead of any meltdown.

Building partnerships for profit

Wile relied on Acme Products for some of the traps he put together to ensnare Road Runner. Having a loyal client partnership is one thing, but again, do you really want to just have one partner? Look at what your marketing needs are; look to see who’s enjoying significant success in the social space with tools that will meet your marketing needs; and build partnerships with each. Be prepared so if one partner falls, you won’t fall with them.

Having a solid back-up plan

Every time Wile failed to catch Road Runner, he’d move onto his next harebrained scheme, which was also doomed to fail. As the economic meltdown last year showed us, we never know what can happen – but we can be prepared. Make sure you’re not relying solely on social media to make your business a success. You still need to adhere to the Four P’s of Marketing – Product, Price, Place and Promotion – and build upon your offline success with this matrix. Some products and services just aren’t built for a social audience – use the Four P’s to define whether yours is or not.

Operation Social Audit

While on paper it might look like Wile had everything planned to a tee, the truth was a lot different. He didn’t really have any QA measures in place, and his projections on project success were always way off.

Again, he was blinded by the target and the possibilities as opposed to the mind of the target and the potential pitfalls.

Your success in mixing your marketing needs with the social media space can be defined early on by a social audit. This allows you to get into the minds of your target and also catch any pitfalls before you trip up on them operationally later on – something Wile could have learned from.

The target is not the only thing to shoot for

Any business needs to know its target audience, sure – but you also need to know how to aim properly. Connect with your existing audience before adapting to any social tools and ask if they’d benefit from you being there. If not, and you’re not aiming for a new audience altogether, do you really need to pull the trigger on an empty target?

Social media is not cost-free

No matter how many times you’re told social media is inexpensive, it’s not. It may save you on “traditional” advertising or marketing costs, but the time expense and the strategy meetings, research and follow-through all cost money as well.

A poorly executed social media strategy could cost you much more money in the long run as you count the cost of wasted man hours, talent, development and
execution. The Price part of the Four P’s is very evident here – make sure you scope your long-term investment costs and how you’ll measure return.

Another way to make social media operationally viable for you is to think how you can service your clients. Wile failed because he never had anyone in a similar situation to share his views with, and they could have corrected or recommended other methods to his approach, and taught him from their experience.

Your success so far has been because of your expertise in your sector. Clients and customers trust you. Why not use that trust and build on it?

Share some of your social marketing success with your clients and help them grow. Ask what’s worked for them. Build ideas together, both brick and mortar and online.

There’s no success more solid than shared victories and strengthened partnerships; as your knowledge and social marketing success grows so can that of your partners and clients, all led by you.

The Why of social media and marketing is long gone; the How is the now. Plan ahead; plan for longevity; build strong partnerships and best practices.

Learn from Wile E. Coyote and be the Road Runner. Be that one step ahead.

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Blog consulting with Danny Brown

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  1. says

    I loved those cartoons, too. I agree that one never knows what tomorrow will bring and the MySpace example is perfect. Just the other day I heard Zuckerberg say that 600 million of FB’s 1 Billion regular users, do so on mobile devices. Then, as if by some divine blog intervention, I started to read posts and comments about the importance of having a blog that works on such devices. Some comments by you, Danny Brown.
    It can be scary to think of my favorite platforms like Twitter and FB going away, but I imagine that as long as I find out where you, Gini, Shanoli, and Bill are hanging out, I’ll be okay.
    Following like a lemming may not be a suggested practice, but if one picks really good people to follow, I think it will work out just fine.

    • says

      ExtremelyAvg And, with developing markets like India and Africa coming through more on mobile, that readership ratio is only going to increase, mate. And, yes, here’s to seeing each other around, regardless of where that might be, sir. :)

  2. says

    Hi Danny,
    Your post reminded me of the need to interact with people outside of our circles too. One of the reasons why we read the same posts ten times over is because people forget or neglect to spend time at blogs outside of their normal circle.
    It makes for inbreeding of ideas and while that is not always a bad thing it does have a couple of hiccups.

    • says

      thejoshuawilner Great point, mate. While my Recommended Reading list has the usual mix of marketing and communication blogs, I prefer to dip into “everyday” blogs. The change in tone and voice is palpable and it definitely keeps your interest. Cheers, mate!

  3. AzHip says

    Loved the analogy!  My favorite cartoon was the Jetsons!  Planning for the future certainly applies there too.  I am sure Cogsgrove’s Cogs could have used some Social Media Strategy too!

  4. says

    I agree that we shouldn’t put all of our eggs in one basket, but do you really see Facebook losing popularity soon?  
    Thanks for helping me remember that it is good to mix up my strategies with ideas from outside my industry!

    • says

      Thesuze I’m not sure if it will lose popularity as much as it will just end up being one of these sites that refuses to die. It’s ingrained in the culture of so many people now, it’s habitual to use. Once you have that kind of stickiness, it’s hard to let go. :)

  5. says

    So, you’re saying if Wile E. Coyote had just teamed up with, say, Sam the Sheepdog or perhaps Foghorn Leghorn he could have avoided most of his mistakes? Yeah, he DID tend to rely on only one partner in ACME Products. But, then he wasn’t all that wily to begin with I fear.

    • says

      Carmelo HA! So glad you mentioned Sam the Sheepdog, he never gets a look in, mate! And, yes, I question how much wile he actually had outside his first name…

  6. rdopping says

    Man, I am falling behind. So, I did something a little different here. I read the comments first, then read the post. Interesting interpretations of your topic and that is one thing I love about this space. The varied points of view that come with engagement.
    How many social platforms are out there? Probably hundreds and more to come right? Not saying we need to be lemmings but the biggest platforms are the biggest for a reason. Sure the shiny new thing will come along (are you waiting for Timberlake to relaunch MySpace?) and we will all flock to it to see what it’s all about, right? Will we abandon the mainstays?
    Anyway, I like that you get out of your own world and visit “everyday” blogs. Perspective, huh? It works for me.

    • says

      rdopping I like the cut of your jib, mate! :)
      You know, the MySpace thing is interesting. People (myself included) had counted it out. But it’s still there, and damn, that promo video for the New MySpace looks slick as hell. Time will tell.

  7. says

    Great analogy! 
    Putting all your eggs in one basket is a recipe for disaster in this age.  I really think companies are spending way too much time figuring out Google, when there’s also Bing to be aware of (which is gaining more share than Google right now, according to Small Business Trends).  As it’s important to integrate social and the internet into your overall value proposition, it’s also important to cast a wider net than you’d initially think.  
     Great insight as to the target customer, and whether or not they would benefit from social.  Sometimes, though, a small business will benefit from a service like Twitter in order to reach out to other small businesses or business owners.  It’s not just about your company being there for your customers (although that’s incredibly important) — it’s also about networking and remaining relevant.

    • says

      jpalomino That’s a great point about Google, Jose – so many people forget the developing markets, where Google doesn’t have as much authority (heck, just look at China and the issues they’re having there). So, yes, thinking Google is the be all and end all for SEO, for example, is being very short-sighted.
      By the way, I’d love to hear more about your book – sounds really interesting, mate!