Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Conversation Marketing Pyramid

The Conversation Marketing Pyramid Model

How does the continuous use of social media for engaging and building loyal customers fit together with campaigned-based marketing? And how does a social media agency like Zipipop see its business place in the marketing world. The process of trying to sketch an answer to these questions inspired the creation of "The Conversation Marketing Pyramid" model. Like all models it is not perfect, since it inevitably fails to capture the complexity and crossover activities that take place in reality, but it hopefully helps give a snap shot of the new marketing relationships – particularly to those outside of the industry.

The aim is to have loyal customers discussing inside social media and generating viral word-of-mouth marketing for your brand/prodcut. The ultimate example of this is summed up in the joke: "How do you know someone has an iPhone? – They tell you!"

If you create a superb product this nirvana could potentially happen by itself, however, it is much more likely to be reached if the various marketing strategies have been successfully implemented in a convergent way.

A convergent approach to reaching marketing heaven

Layer 1

Underlying everything is a great product or service (since in the open world of social media you can't fool people for long).

Layer 2

Continuous customer engagement and support using the established social media channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. – wherever your target audience hangs out) and community platforms for collaborating and rewarding the most loyal customers. This is a core part of Zipipop's strategic consulting and training related to setting up Community Managers and Social Media Teams to empower employees across organizations to participate effectively in social media.

Layer 3

Marketing campaigns designed to raise awareness together with extended social media afterlife strategies. Zipipop can help marketing agencies in concepting the core social media elements of a campaign so that it connects with the existing communities and lives on inside social media discussions.

Layer 4

Specialist digital mobile and social media apps that can authentically be connected with existing communities and potentially kickstarted with the support of loyal customers being supported in Layer 2. These apps need to be relevant, useful or entertaining.

Layer 5

If everything else has been done well at this point the customers will have become the best evangelists. However, it is still important to use social media monitoring tools to listen closely and react quickly to ameliorate any negative comment while accentuating and sustaining positive conversations.

Previously at the beginning of the blog entry:

Last month I was a speaker at SIME Helsinki where there was a good deal of discussion about how social media and apps should be integrated with the more established marketing channels; for example: Is the "big creative idea" still important? Is mass communication coming to an end? How to create convergence across the media landscape? etc.

The general consensus was that there is a greater need than ever for highly creative marketing ideas; however, they need to be designed to generate an afterlife in social media, i.e. the campaign is the kickstarter for a prolonged social media conversation. Some great examples of this are: the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign with over 180 spinoff adverts and tens of millions of views; and The Heineken Italy Activation Milan AC Real Madrid marketing stunt that generated masses of earned media.

Entertaining, useful or relevant

Will Sansom from Contagious Communications used the metaphor of a one-night-stand turning into a long-term relationship. Sansom also reinforced the idea that social media and mobile apps-based advertising needs to be ever more entertaining, useful or relevant (preferably all three). He gave the Carlsberg Where's the Party? mobile app as a good example of this: the mobile web service uses geo-tagging to help people find out where friends are hanging out in the evenings (reminds me of our old Going For One/Zipiko apps). However, I would also suggest that this is a great example of a brand rightfully claiming a space that is appropriate and relevant. In a simple clever way we can also see something similar in the way Valio (the biggest Finnish dairy organization) was quick to claim the space for milk after it was vote the national drink.