When we think about Black Friday and its Internet twin Cyber Monday, visions of throngs of customers buying goods like they are on a game show fill our heads. The shopping season that leads up to the holidays has been the playground of marketing professionals for the better part of a century. The Internet and social media have changed the way that we reach out to consumers. Some of these methods can be adapted even if you are not a retail entrepreneur.
Socially Responsible Marketing
There are times when doing a good thing at a company level can reap a financial benefit in the form of socially responsible holiday marketing. This form of “win-win” marketing highlights the communal benefit of buying your product or using your service. The company SoapBox Soaps is a good example of a socially responsible product with marketing to match. With any purchase of their soap or bath product, the company will donate soap and water to needy children worldwide. In the case of SoapBox Soaps, the marketing goes hand-in-hand with its product line. Even if you are a service deliverer, socially responsible marketing can work. In Miami-Dade County, when the school district did not have the resources to assess needy children, school psychologists donated their time, garnering a lot of good press toward their marketing endeavors.
Before the days of smartphones and WiFi, there were limited marketing channels. TV, radio and newspaper ads tried to have an integrated message but the direction of the message was one way. It was not until social media that marketing became a dialogue. Marketing channels are defined as the way consumers interact and purchase your product or service. The National PTA has partnered with Lifelock, the identity theft security company, for the #ShareAwesome campaign. The campaign encourages digital citizenship and online safety. It seeks to shift the mindset of online anonymity, sometimes resulting in negative comments or bullying, to a positive and encouraging space. ShareAwesomeNow.org asks you to share your awesome pictures via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and then comment on others. It’s a way to practice social media etiquette and engage customers.
Branding with Social Media Marketing
As the months leading up to the holiday season, you see an escalation in company chatter on social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Social media has had a large impact on brand loyalty and engagement. One of the most significant changes that brand managers need to grapple is that social media marketing means letting go of the reins and letting others work your branding for you. As an entrepreneur, your social media persona needs to be genuine and professional. You will need to allow others the opportunity of speaking highly about your services.
Every good public speaker knows that you must communicate with your audience in mind. You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him pay for your product. Consumer based marketing demands an honest connection with your target. Often times these connections are natural like ethnicity or heritage. If not then, they need to be cultivated. When creating your consumer based marketing campaign, strive for an authentic connection. Authenticity in marketing is shown to overcome even “irreconcilable tensions” in some service or product consumer perceptions.