By Kevin Meyer
Yesterday I told you about how sources of information are evolving… from the marketplace to newspapers to radio and television and to internet-based applications. We are currently witnessing social networking replace websites and even blogs as content consumers go directly to news creators.
Coincidentally on the same day a major auto company gave us an example of how new sources of information, specifically social networking, is beginning to drive marketing. A hat tip to regular reader Dan, an old friend who was one of the original guys that pointed me in the lean direction over a decade ago.
Nissan Canada staged the biggest giveaway in automotive history on a
balmy evening in late June when it handed 50 of its brand-new boxy Cube
cars (worth more than $850,000) to contest winners across Canada
through presentations simulcast in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
Didn't hear about the promotion?
No, and probably not just because I don't live in Canada.
No surprises there since Nissan – in partnership with Toronto agency
Capital C Communications – avoided the usual mainstream quadrangle of
TV, radio, print and billboard to trumpet their car launch.
the automaker and its agency embarked on in mid-March on its Hypercube
social media marketing campaign, that the company says offers
significant rewards "creativity in Canada."
Why in the world would they do that?
With a recent Ipsos Reid poll estimating that 56 per cent of
Canadians boast some sort of social networking profile, it's no wonder
that Nissan and the rest of the auto industry – including recent
network campaigners Ford and Honda – are shifting some of their
advertising dollars away from traditional avenues.
And they're not the only industry following the trend.
Vacation vendor Sunquest Canada recently concluded its own series of
online-driven contests to attract eyeballs to its MySpace, Facebook and
Remember what I told you yesterday about how social media provides a direct connection between news makers and the consumer?
"What you're seeing is something called `activation,' which has become popular in the last five years," Young explains.
"Giving away 50 Cubes is an example of social activation: This is where
you try to take your brand down to the street level and force some sort
of direct interaction between the customer and the brand."
was interaction aplenty at the Cube contest. Five hundred finalists,
including Juno Award-winning recording artist Greg Sczebel, were
assigned a blank webpage on Nissan's hypercube.ca website and invited
to creatively "audition" for their chance to win a free vehicle.
By identifying the target market and going directly to them, there can be considerable savings.
PHD's Rob Young says a successful social media campaign allocates advertising dollars efficiently. "The thinking here is that you could spend $5 to reach 1,000 people in
a TV commercial at a relatively low level of involvement, or spend $5
reaching 10 people at a high level of involvement. The high level of
involvement – if you get the right consumers – is a better payback."
Although Parent wouldn't divulge the cost of the
multi-million-dollar campaign, he said Nissan Canada spent "a third of
the amount of what I would normally spend on a car launch of this kind." He says it's important to open up a dialogue with the consumer.
And perhaps even more importantly, think of of the brand itself.
"We think we control the brand, but with the Internet, social media
and the way people talk today, we don't anymore," says Parent. "The brand is really what other people think and say about us.
we're going to ask this community, `what do you want to do next? This
is your car, your brand.' It will inform everything we do in
traditional car launches for a long time."
Ben McConnell says social media marketing campaigns are the wave of the future.
So what is your company doing? Marketing for the next decade, or the last decade?