Guest post by Barbara Goose. As Executive Director for Digitas Boston and Detroit, Barbara is responsible for operational and client leadership in those offices. Follow @Digitas on Twitter! This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.
Being social has evolved since the dawn of time. We are, at our core, very social beings—it’s the way we live, and it’s the air we breathe. People want to connect with other people. And now, we have technology that enables our human connection and takes it to new levels.
Enter social media. Has there been a bigger marketing buzzword in the last few years? Probably not. It’s a term that’s taken on a life of its own. But social media isn’t what it once was. It’s becoming something bigger—something more meaningful: “social marketing.”
What’s the difference? While social media broadcasts foursquare check-ins and product announcements, social marketing asks consumers what they want and works with them to get it, whether it’s a new use for a household product or an unbiased review for a car they want to buy. Social media is the guy at the party who won’t stop talking; social marketing is the friend who wants to hear what you have to say.
Seventy four percent of consumers rely on social networks to guide purchase decisions (source). But they’re not only relying on a Facebook page that says “buy me.” They’re listening to one another online—consumer reviews are trusted nearly 12 times more than descriptions that come from manufacturers (source).
However in 2011, social marketing won’t stand alone. Its innate partner, mobility, will be right alongside. Mobility, the newest muscle in digital, is quickly becoming our primary connection to friends, family, work, and overall culture. The launch of the Verizon iPhone last week and the “year of the tablet” in full swing are examples of where we’re headed.
This social-mobile connection (SoMo) gives people personal, instant access everywhere at anytime. Whether it’s chatting, learning, sharing, or shopping, connecting has never been easier. SoMo opens up a world of opportunities.
For example, no longer is a consumer reliant on the salesman in a store. If you can’t decide what 3DTV is right for you, you can post a poll on Facebook to your friends. In minutes, you have feedback from 15 people. Now that you’ve decided on Samsung, the question is where to get the best price. Using RedLaser and the iPhone’s camera, you can scan the TV’s UPC code and instantly have access to the lowest price, often times lower than the store you’re standing in.
Another great example of where we are headed in 2011 is the Google Goggles technology. Brands like Buick are embracing the functionality to create a custom mobile experience for print campaigns. These interactive mobile experiences give consumers an opportunity to get a deeper, richer experience with the brand. As the off-line and online worlds converge, Buick is able to showcase video content and imagery, as well as “locate a dealer” and “sign-up” options on the spot.
SoMo changes the marketing landscape and yields new opportunities for brands. It allows marketers to stay out in front of consumers both figuratively and literally, as consumers are moving faster than ever. It helps us create what we at Digitas call “Active Brands.” Brands that inspire people to take action, brands that are active and relevant in people’s lives and deliver value in real time.
Active Brands use SoMo to weave into consumers’ daily lives. They add value and utility for people.
What’s really coming in 2011? It’s not something new. Instead, it’s a marketing revitalization—back to marketing as a service. It’s capitalizing on the new technology that’s on the horizon (aka launching next week). It’s about delivering relevant content—activating and engaging consumers. It’s embracing the mobile cultural revolution.
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