Business Week recently ran an article on how Nintendo has “given up control” of its marketing message in promoting its Wii gaming console. The article focused on how Nintendo was going where their customers are — be it malls, parties or MySpace.
“We are a controlling company,” said marketing boss George Harrison. “This was a big deal for us.”
David Reich’s first post here last week talked about how marketers are increasingly reaching out to bloggers to include them in their marketing efforts by mentioning a recent WSJ article (thanks for the link, Paul). I even blogged about my participation in the Nikon D80 “Picture This” campaign, which I have admitted is one of the best-run blogger-ambassador type programs yet.
But all these attempts by marketers to incorporate social media into their marketing plans are still missing the mark.
What makes social media tools so popular, is that they give everyday people the ability to publish content, and communicate with others. But many marketers aren’t tapping the enormous potential of social media.
Instead of reaching out to customers and bringing these voices into their company’s marketing efforts, many marketers are wanting to use bloggers as simply another promotional tool. Instead of viewing bloggers as customers that can afford them invaluable input into how to effectively reach their target markets, marketers are increasingly seeing social media as just another sales channel.
And I think it’s about time we started calling them on it.
To view blogs and other forms of social media as a one-way selling tool is to show that the past few decades have taught us nothing about the importance of understanding our customers. Today, marketers have more tools in place than ever before to give them insight into what their customers are thinking. Blogs, Twitter, MySpace, all these forms of social media are channels that marketers can use to communicate with, and better understand their customers. As a result, their marketing will be more efficient, because they will better understand their customers’ wants and needs.
But instead, many marketers view these incredible tools not as a way to better understand their customers, but as tools to sell them more stuff.
The more technology changes, the more marketing seems to stay the same… .