Going Green – Corporate Social Responsibility – Sustainability – Whatever you want to call it – Prior to the current economic climate, companies big and small were all buying into the concept that going green could improve their bottom line.
The general thought behind this belief was that a large enough segment of consumers cared enough to not only purchase, but also promote products to their friends that they deemed as better for the environment.
For a time this worked, but as more and more companies transitioned it became less and less of a competitive advantage, which combined with an increased overhead caused many companies to discontinue any green initiative.
It’s a shame that the only reason many companies choose to go green was to make more green, but moving forward if we ever want this movement to continue – it has to come from consumers.
This post was inspired by this nice viral video by the AARP:
NBC confirmed today that they are pulling the plug on the Jay Leno Show prime time experiment.
The experiment started when NBC had to figure out what it could do to keep Leno in their line-up while still promoting the up-and-coming late night show host Conan O’Brien.
Moving Leno to prime time seemed logical. NBC could produce the show at a fraction of the cost to produce a full-hour drama. So despite a drop in ratings, the network figured they could keep profit margins steady.
The lower ratings trickled down to the local news affiliates, who struggled to keep good ratings themselves. The affiliates were the group who ultimately called for the end to the experiment.
It’s sad it had to end this way for the affiliates who had to let a few more good reporters go. Count me as one person who is looking forward to order being restored. For what it is worth, I always preferred Leno to Letterman and never really got into Conan. And as much as I liked Leno, during prime time, there were other shows I preferred.
What does this have to do with Marketing?
Consumers are creatures of habit. If you change something major about a product, like at what time it can be consumed, you run the risk of losing even the most loyal consumers. Which is what happened to me. The show didn’t fit into my schedule anymore, so I quit watching.
And aside from habits, Leno was up against better competition. Prime time television viewers weren’t interested in viewing late night television. It was like trying to sell a KIA at a Cadillac dealership.
Lessons learned from this experiment are that we must carefully consider the consequences of changing a major component of an established product with an established customer. Habits are a tough thing to change.
RSS is a technology that allows for content to be delivered online automatically to those who subscribe to it. Blogs and microblogs(Twitter) utilize this technology to deliver content and updates.
A 2008 study showed that only 11% of consumers had adopted the technology, which has steered many marketers away from really utilizing the technology.
Despite these numbers, it’s important to note that on any given 15-minute surf through the world wide web, 100% of web consumers will at some point consume content served to them through RSS.
On a recent visit to Mpls St. Paul Magazine’s health web page, I noticed that they were serving content directly from Mayo Clinic’s health blog utilizing RSS. In the PR world of trying to get stories placed in newspapers – that’s like a grand slam everyday. In my opinion, it doesn’t make much sense to ignore this technology simply because consumers haven’t latched on to it.
To learn more about RSS and RSS readers, check out this video by Commoncraft:
The driver behind successful social media campaigns is no different from the driver behind successful traditional marketing campaigns.
Success in social media marketing starts with product differentiation. Companies must first examine what makes their product or service better than the competition. Hopefully this should come easy. Examples of product differentiations could be the features and functionality, it could be an interesting story about how a product was developed or it could be simply the price.
Either way, when entering the social media stratosphere, it is important to take note of what sets you apart from the competition.
People on the Internet – bloggers in particular – are interested in discussing product ideas and solution approaches that are new and different.
A current example would be the new Driod Phone. In this case, bloggers who write about new technology tend focus on the product differentiations. This article on Mashable illustrates just how important this is, as they displayed in a large chart showing differences among different types of phones. Social media marketing specialists should be prepared with this type of information.
To close, before you suggest social media marketing as a realistic marketing tactic – think about how is your product or service different from the completion? Who are the early adopters or major influencers? And where do they hang out on the Internet?
Erik Qualman of Socialnomics.net released another very informative video about the return on investment of social media marketing.
2. Gary Vaynerchuk grew his family business from $4 million to $50 million using social media. Gary’s eccentric personality and offbeat oenophile knowledge have proven a natural path to success with his Wine TV Library.
3. Vaynerchuk found first hand that $15,000 in Direct Mail = 200 new customers, $7,500 Billboard = 300 new customers, $0 Twitter = 1,800 new customers.
6. Lenovo was able to achieve cost savings by a 20% reduction in call center activity as customers go to community website for answers
7-8. Burger King’s Whopper Sacrifice Facebook program incented users to give up ten of their Facebook friends in return for a free Whopper. The estimated investment for this program was less than $50,000 yet they received 32 million media impressions which roughly estimated equals greater than $400,000 in press/media value. Which to put in context is somewhat like reaching the entire populations of 19 states (understanding this doesn’t account for unique vs. repeat visitors, etc.)
If you haven’t seen the Google Chrome OS Video below, please watch it before reading my response.
Google is right – most young people I know spend 90% of their time on their home computers on the Internet.
But what about the other 10% of the time?
Most likely people are writing a paper, editing a video, cropping some photos, putting together a power point presentation.
Even though I am still required to use them at work, does Google expect me to do away with Microsoft Word and Powerpoint?
And even though uploading files could take a considerable amount of time, does Google expect me to rely on free internet software to edit video?
I’m not trying to say that Google doesn’t have a pretty cool idea, but they definitely have some questions to answer. And until they do, don’t expect any changes from me.
We as consumers are not used to losing anything. Getting on the internet 35 seconds faster doesn’t make up for lost features and functionality like video editing.