Product Simulations as Authentic Social Media Content

By | August 4, 2010

I just saw a great post from Lee Odden at the Online Marketing Blog, entitled “Why Do So Many Companies Suck at Social Media?“.

Essentially, my take on it is that he feels companies jump on the social media/technology bandwagon, i.e., try to adopt the latest tools and technology of social media, without really thinking about their own relationship with their customers and prospects.  It’s the classic ‘get a technology before I figure out what the problem is.’  If you try to be like someone else, you can’t really have a meaningful conversation with your own customers and those you want to attract.

What really sucked me in was the sentence “Marketing is about many things including connecting audiences with products they want to buy.”  That really says it.  Therefore, as much as companies want their interaction to be perceived as amusing, leading edge, offbeat, memorable, or whatever, ultimately it is about helping audiences connect with your products.  It’s not simply about being engaging, it’s about engaging prospects with your products, and about offering authentic product experiences that connect with your audience.

A few lines later, he sums it up beautifully: “[Marketing on the social web is] more about companies being able to connect with customers in ways that are both meaningful to those customers and to the goals of the business.”  Potential customers need content that is meaningful to their purpose of researching/pursuing the company, namely acquiring an understanding of why the prospective customer should buy the products of one company as opposed to its competitors.  If the company aims simply to make its site ‘sticky’, without a direct, sustained relevance to the products, then it runs a good chance there will be a disconnect with the prospective buyer, no matter how interactive, fun, or memorable the campaign was.

In Lee’s suggestion area, one bullet item stands out:

– Create – Content that customers actually want.

I think it’s implicit in his argument that the content be aligned to the company’s business goals.  Isn’t so much of it really about creating content that relates to why customers are interested in the company in the first place, namely the company’s products or services?

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