Holiday Social Media Lessons From The Silver Screen

12/24/2008

Social media teaches us lots of lessons. The big one for marketers is it is not all about the brand .. it is all about the customer. As with so many lessons, we seem to keep relearning this one.

Before you go off the grid .. or perhaps when you come back on .. think of a gentler time before the Internet, before Twitter, before blogs or Facebook or even before email. It is Christmas 1947 and the CEO of a major retail organization briefs the company's ad department.

"No high pressuring and forcing the customer to take something he doesn't want. We'll be known as the helpful store. The friendly store. The store with a heart. The store that places public service ahead of profit. The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before."

With those words Macy's Department Store launched the most innovative sales program ever viewed...on the silver screen. It was a Miracle on 34th Street. Customers would not be coerced into buying what they did not want and if another store had a better, less expensive product Macy's would send them to that store.Miracle_on_34th_street

Fast forward 61 years. Social media is one of the most exciting marketing strategies we've seen in the last 60+ years. However, in this model there is no room for high-pressure sales techniques. The customer is in control of the brand experience. As Mr. Macy learned .. the customer has always been in control but few marketers have helped to create that experience for their customers .. especially when it goes outside of the company-brand/s.

Adding a social media strategy to the marketing mix is a powerful tactic that actively demonstrates your customers' needs matter. The digital relationships that the people (not departments) in your company develop create continuous listen which leads to continuous learning which leads to a continuous conversations which leads to trust which leads to the cash register bells ringing. And every time a cash register bell rings a marketer gets a bonus or gets to keep her job (!).. oops wrong film. Sorry.

Corner grocery store digital relationships that are build not only with you and your customers but among your customers could never have been imagined when Kris Kringle entered Macy's Department in 1947. For many organizations these open conversations still seem like a Miracle on (insert organization name here) or like the ghost of Xmas future (oops wrong movie again. Sorry.)

Often it is not easy to hear the answers to questions you did not ask. In developing new ways to conduct business there maybe a few wobbles and perhaps even acknowledgment that all is not perfect behind the curtain of your brand. However, the surprise gift is that strategies built with integrity, honesty and transparency that offer an opportunity to create dialog with your customers show that you are more a like than not. And that builds relationships.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible... consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

As the year 2009 approaches, technology developments spin even faster taking digital marketing into areas that were impossible in '47 or '57 or even '08.

Imagine a site that holds current inventory and pricing, allows for on-line financing and results in better, faster cheaper processing.

Imagine a site that allows for product customization.

Imagine a site where you can start a conversation with a real person about what matters to you regarding a product or service.

Imagine a site where you can talk to a real person who doesn't respond with an FAQ list.

Imagine a site where you can actually help change the direction of a product or service before it's even launched.

Imagine a site where you can include your review of the product, service or customer care.

Imagine a site where you can talk to people about their experiences and learn from each other.

Imagine a company that doesn't close the door (or comment section) to you or your ideas.

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

It's interesting to compare a 1940's film, where finding solutions to customers' problems was perceived as unique, to 2008 where finding solutions to customers' problems is considered ingenious.

The techniques may have changed. New buzz words may be added to the mix. Bells and whistles may be a little louder. However, after all is said and done, the premise remains the same:

-Listen

-Understand

-Add value

-Do what it takes to go the extra mile to delight your customer

The plan sounds idiotic and impossible...consequently, we'll make more profit than ever before.

Toby max santa hats  And with that Max and I wish you a holiday full of joy.

Sidebar: A Classic Diva Marketing post based on an article written for Marketing News

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Comments

"Listen (needs recognition), Understand and adding value" are the basic of all kind of communication, if it's a social media or even simple website.

Posted by: Chris Fiberg on Dec 25, 2008 9:42:05 AM

Brilliant! I love the 'Miracle on 34th Street' and corner grocery store references, they're right on target. We can dress it up with video, podcasts, images and hyperlinks galore, but information is still best delivered in as direct and helpful a manner as possible.

Posted by: Joni Hubred-Golden on Dec 29, 2008 3:47:06 PM

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