(Image courtesy of Heard It From A Mom)
Buying eyeballs vs. building relationships - which is more important for growing your business?
Let's get more specific. If you're trying to reach moms - which is more powerful - a TV commercial or a personal recommendation from another mom?
If you've done any research on moms you know the answer to that question. 70% of Moms purchase products based on another Mom’s recommendation.
So why do so many companies and agencies pour the vast majority of their media buy money into traditional media and only a small portion into social media?
Or, do they categorize social media as PR and delegate a small portion of that budget instead?
Why aren't more companies spending more of their ad budgets on social media?
Here are some of the answers I hear most often:
It's a numbers game - We need to reach tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people. Social media doesn't have the reach.
Response #1 - If you are truly a mass market product, (aka soda) I hear you. Though deepening your brand relationship with your customers through social media is still a good idea.
Response #2 - Many products don't have the budget to reach such a mass audience, nor should they if they have a more targeted product.
Response #3 - There are two factors that make social media so powerful. One is the exponential factor - she tells two friends, then they tell two friends, etc. The second is the fact that, done well, social media can generate big numbers, too.
Just look at this example from Clorox. They partnered with CafeMom to create an active group. In the group, one comment alone got 80,000 page views. Just one comment!
Middle Sister Wines doubled their sales by using social media almost exclusively as their marketing channel.
You can't track actual sales - Yeah there's X number of mentions on blogs or Y number of people who Like us on Facebook. But is that really driving sales?
Response #1 - It depends on the channel and the strategy of the campaign. Are you actually asking people to take a specific action? (I'll give you a successful example of that in just a minute).
Response #2 - Recommendations create a higher likelihood of purchase than traditional media. A recommendation is WAY more powerful than an impression. A mom watches a TV commercial and is aware of you, but not ready to buy. The same mom gets a recommendation from a mom (on a social network site) and goes out and buys the product that day. She loves it and now recommends it her friends. (Thus the exponential factor AND it costs you NOTHING to generate those further impressions.)
Heard It From a Mom Case Study
I really like the Heard it From A Mom business model:
Heard It From A Mom empowers Moms to share a real product experience with one another. At Heard It From A Mom, we believe there is no better recommendation than from one Mom to another.
We partner with trusted Mom blogs to facilitate this unique way to share great products and services. Product trial, personal endorsement and word of mouth generate sales and Brand Advocates
Heard It From A Mom believes marketers should be measuring personal recommendations vs. GRPS.
Since we know personal recommendations are more powerful than simple "impressions" that sounds like a smart move to me.
Heard It From A Mom uses trackable mom relays.
HIFAM harnesses the power of Mom Blogs to launch our proprietary Product Relays. In the Relay, a Mom can try a product for free and then refer other Moms she knows to try the product who can in turn refer other Moms. We provide measurable Relay results as well as target insight to help you better define the Brand's highest value consumers.
Heard It From A Mom partnered with Juno Baby in a campaign to promote Juno Baby CD's and DVD's for children. The campaign included a microsite.
From here, moms could "pass the product" on to friends.
One of the numbers that really impressed me was this: 50% of the moms opted in to have more communication with the brand. This is at the pre-purchase stage, the holy grail of when marketers WANT to have communication with prospective customers.
Most communication opt-in is post purchase. This pre purchase opt-in is huge.
If you're marketing a product, especially to women and to moms, consider allocating more of your budget to social media. Instead of focusing just on impressions, focus on much more powerful personal recommendations.
For another look at the role of social media in ad campaigns, see what Bob Garfield has to say at Ad Age. Even though he's not a fan of the example he cites, he brings up a lot of the same points discussed here.