Saturday, March 5, 2011

Our Publisher channels

One of the things that I spent time on, late last year, was how to structure our team to get most out of social media for our brand and marketing communications. We use social media for other stuff beyond marketing (such as customer service), but I thought I'd share the marketing bit - in case other marketers are working on this.

For many years, we divided our marketing communications into two main areas - advertising and direct marketing. I now wanted us to formally acknowledge that social media activity was different, with different tasks and a slightly different mindset.

So at the beginning of this year, we split our communications into three areas and divided out responsibilities and budget among the team to give us this:
  1. Advertising
  2. Direct Marketing and
  3. Publisher channels (blogs on our website, facebook, twitter, our forum)
While it is early days, I'm happy with how it is working. When we take a brief, we look at each area and the appropriate individuals figure out how they will treat the brief with the channel they are focused on.

For example, we've found we can use social media to keep a campaign message alive longer at a relatively low cost - but requires more people time. And we may not get the reach that advertising gets.

Practically speaking, we might decide to (1) advertise on TV to get fast reach to a mass audience, (2) send an email to existing customers to let them know about the offer and (3) have a competition (connected to the offer) on our blog or facebook page for say two weeks. We know we'll get higher engaged people on our facebook page but won't get the reach of advertising or the micro-targeting of an email. So each is used for what it is good for.

While the activity is not new or different, the team structure is.

And internally we talk about what will turn up on our publisher channels or what will be advertised or communicated directly. And we know that our publisher channels are not broadcast media for repeating a sales message every day and are therefore should not be treated that way. Similarly we acknowledge that our direct marketing is not really conversational or a real dialogue with our customers (even if the ambition for DM is a dialogue), but we actually do have a bit of a chat with customers on our publisher channels.

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