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Thursday

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Cracking The Social Media Nut: A Product, Not Marketing Problem

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by Brian Haven
@ 2:33 PM

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» Brand
» Engagement
» Innovation
» Marketing
» Social Media

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To begin, when I say "product" I mean "that which is produced." It could be an artifact (iPhone, coffee mug), a service (online banking, car repair), an environment (hotel room, furniture store), or an experience (theme park, World Series).


We all spend a lot of time talking about how the commercial application of social media is really about marketing. Any corporate effort in social media usually lies in the hands for the marketers, all of the examples (successes and horror stories) are typically marketing examples, many of the conferences on the topic focus on marketing, and the majority of content about social media and companies is created and consumed by marketers.


But finding a successful social media solution isn't a marketing problem, it's a product development problem.


In most (but not all) cases, it's difficult to get people passionately engaged during the selling process. This is because most marketing approaches essentially favor the needs of the marketer (sell the product, reach more eyeballs, disrupt the prospect so they think about us), not the prospect (How are other people in my situation preparing for retirement? Do the people who read that book feel it helped them?). Success comes when you fulfill a need or solve a problem. This is where the real power of social media comes into play.


I'm not suggesting that there isn't a marketing application here, but it's simply a different philosophical approach — it requires a truly human-centered approach. So, what companies need to do is understand how social technologies enhance their existing products in a way that benefits the constituent (or what new product could exist). Make life easier, fun, or inspiring for a person and they'll be more engaged. Make the social technology solution a core offering, then the marketers get a better shot at turning that participation into something that will entice new customers.

 

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How should a company participate in social media? It's one...
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We've spent a good 6+ years talking about "social media"...
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