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Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever
By RIC DRAGON
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2012The McGraw-Hill Companies
All rights reserved.
INTRODUCING SOCIAL MARKETOLOGY
MARKETING AND PSYCHOLOGY
Long before the first business schools started teaching something called marketing, people who called themselves merchandisers, ad men, and promoters well understood that powerful forces were at work beneath the surface of everyday commerce. Even in 1903, Arthur Frederick Sheldon, in The Science of Successful Salesmanship, wrote, "We shall unfold certain basic truths of psychology, the study of the human mind. You will learn not alone the mental law of sale, but will be furnished with instruction in psychology, specially written from the standpoint of the business world."
The newly developed approaches of the efficiency movement and scientific management of the early 1900s didn't just aim to improve the productivity of factory laborers but were also used in offices for managers and salespeople. One advertisement in an early magazine extolled the virtues of managers having their very own phone lines as a great time-saver—as a source of efficiency. With time, business schools started offering courses in marketing, thus providing a more measured and scientific approach to bringing goods to consumers.
But in the 1920s, magazine publishers still didn't really understand their audience. They would look around the office and say, "Our readers must be a lot like us." They created advertisements showing idealized mothers welcoming idealized fathers home to their bucolic idealized homes. On another front, highway signage campaigns like those for Burma-Shave were demonstrating that advertising could be entertainment—and that if you could entertain people, they were a little more inclined to like you and purchase your goods. Still, though, it was a scattershot approach to marketing.
In the 1930s, a young business researcher, Arthur C. Nielsen, borrowed capital from some of his old college friends and formed a market research company to study people and their preferences. With the new methodologies and collections of data that Nielsen and others like him provided, organizations embarked on increasingly sophisticated marketing programs based less upon guesswork and more upon a scientific approach.
The 1940s saw greater energy being expended in developing the study of influence: How could so many people be swayed by the charismatic German dictator whose leadership would devastate Europe, or be induced to mass hysteria by a radio program suggesting a Martian invasion? During the war, the military placed a new emphasis on communications and, in the process, trained a whole new generation of public relations experts, helping to foster the growth of a psychological approach to marketing. (Today, a military trained in social media is returning home from war).
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, marketers adopted increasingly sophisticated approaches to sales and marketing. Different audiences needed to be approached with different messages, and what was sold to those markets needed to truly stand apart and have unique value. Those M&Ms melted in your mouth, not in your hands.
In the 1950s, marketing theorist Wroe Alderson (in Marketing Behavior and Executive Action) talked about marketing as an "aspect of the interaction among organized behavior systems related to each other in what may be described as an ecological network." While today we might argue that those behavior systems are both organized and unorganized, it's telling that marketing has continued to be seen as a fundamentally psychological study.
Since then, we've experienced the heyday of television, which in its own right overwhelmingly became the media of the masses. For decades, marketers were pushing content to consumers, and the only real feedback consumers could give was with their purchases and the relatively few devices that Mr. Nielsen's company had attached to a few thousand radios and televisions.
When Thomas Edison invented his lightbulb, it wasn't merely a lightbulb but an entire system of cables, junction boxes, meters, generators, and switches that required innovation. And so it has also been with personal computing and the Internet. High-speed connectivity, computers with increasingly larger memory, video displays, e-mail, search engines, websites, the mouse, and a lot of other technological breakthroughs that are not even comprehensible to the average nonexpert, all taken together have enabled this vast communications system. We might gloat that Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, lacked vision when he said in 1943, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." And yet, who could have envisioned the complex online system that has become a central fixture in the lives of most people?
Perhaps, in hindsight, it seems obvious that if you were to provide the people of the world with a system in which communication can occur instantly and more easily than ever before, something like social media was bound to emerge—and that along with this whole new kind of media, brands would be in a position to move from shouting from their perches on the corporate mountaintop to actually being among the people. How do brands accomplish this? They, our customers, are people—individuals who eat meals, go to sleep, and have jobs or school, hobbies, and lives. How does a brand become more of a person and become a part of the conversation?
It's true that there have been many things analogous to social media before—discussion boards, Internet relay chat, CB radio, and even the telephone. But in social media, we have something utterly different. The many technologies have come together in such a way that we can share ideas instantly and with a specificity of affinities. We can become acquainted with others scattered over the entire globe and forge real relationships in the real world. Out in the world, there is a humongous party taking place, where people are connecting with one another with ease. Brands can join the party too; we just need to prepare a bit more.
Before the pervasive adoption of social media, Web 2.0 was a major topic in business. Web 2.0 is a designation covering a whole range of technologies such as blogs, online chats, and even the film descriptions that pop up within a page on Netflix. As John Chambers, CEO of Cisco, said about Web 2.0, "It's going from 'command and control' to 'enable and facilitate.'" Social media has become the primary tool for creating collaborative environments between organizations and consumers.
FOR MARKETERS, THE WORLD HAS CHANGED
In the late 1990s, the concept of the blog came into being. Jorn Barger created a script that logged the website addresses he visited to a web page (thus a Weblog), and others created software that enabled users to maintain online journals. The critical element was the development of software that allowed people to easily post their own content, and then to enable others to comment. If the politicians who once feared that people who bought ink by the barrel would be here now, they would have to contend with a world where everyone owns an unlimited supply of ink. By the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs.
Marketing is often understood to be a black art wherein its practitioners endeavor to persuade bald men to buy hairbrushes. Students of marketing are exposed to concepts like the four Ps (product, price, place, and promotion), differentiators, positioning, and the Ansoff matrix, along with a whole lot of mathematical formulas. Typically, once marketers assume their jobs in corporations, they're expected to do things that increase sales. At its best, marketing acts as that wonderful bridge between those who create goods and servi
Excerpted from SOCIAL MARKETOLOGY by RIC DRAGON. Copyright © 2012 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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