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Creating A Digital Community | reMARCable by Marc Binkley
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The Buzz of  Marketing  now

Connect. Engage.  Be Authentic.  Join the Conversation. Twitter.  Facebook. Linkedin. Youtube.  Reachout. Create Content.  Crowdsourcing. Social CRM. Influencers.  SEO & SMO.

All of these terms are buzz words associated with marketing today.  While all are important, I think the one word missing from this list is the one word that ties them all together; Community.

 

Our Recent History with Marketing

Up to 5 years ago, mass media (for the sake of advertising) could be defined as the ability to distribute your message to a large number of segmented targets a small portion of which will be interested in your service or product at some point in time.

Knowing the time when a consumer is interested in your product/service is a bit like finding a needle in a haystack.   Enter the idea of frequency.

Frequency of message distribution exists to mitigate the ‘when are they buying’ problem.   We know that the mass media messages are fleeting.   Traditionally, ads exist for 5, 10 or 30 seconds then disappear.   If the audience that receives the message isn’t in the market, then there is no reason to react.  Frequency helps keep your brand top of mind over time.  A campaign with frequency assumes that most people aren’t in the market for you right now.  However, some of the mass is, and this small subgroup of ‘in the market’ consumers is exactly who your message is intended to resonate with.

Reach is complimentary to frequency and equally important.  In the case of the 2011 Superbowl, there were 111 million viewers in the US.  At around $3 million per 30, one ad in the Superbowl seems expensive, but the instantaneous reach of a Superbowl message is unmatched.    Not all Superbowl viewers will react, but the impression will likely be large and lasting given the enormous audience and the energy that goes into producing  remarkable commercial content for this event.

 

The Present State of Marketing

Marketing is not as simply defined as it once was.   Today, reach and frequency still mean as much to traditional media as they do to social media.   Your tweets have a frequency and your followers are your reach.   However,  there are a number of new considerations.

In the past, we used mass media for it’s quantity of audience.   The quality of audience was secondary.  Ad agencies built plans that delivered the most frequency of message to the largest group of people within a desired demographic.   Small business, often tell me that they just want to broadcast their ‘buy now’ message to the biggest audience they can for the lowest price.    In both cases, the rationale is that by sheer volume a business is bound to reach some of the right people.  With enough frequency and reach, that business could broadcast their message to the entire market as it completes it’s cycle.  even more the right people.

Today with the low entry barrier to produce digital content and emergence of  social media platforms, the quality of each individual in your target group means more than it did.   Every individual’s opinion matters.

The reason for this is that everybody connected online is a content creator and can literally be distributed to a world wide audience with the click of a button.

Ever heard of Elle Fowler? Me neither until the other day.  Elle posts videos on her own Youtube channel, allthatglitters21 which focuses on her shopping exploits (thanks to Mitch Joel for pointing this out).  Her channel has been viewed over 71 Million times.  That’s a Superbowl type audience.   Clearly if Elle were to review one of your products, you should know about it.  The social influence that this individual has is mind boggling.  And her audience?  Likely a large proportion of people who want to hear what she has to say.

Like Elle, each company has a view of their brand.  Similarily, your clients and prospects also have a view of your brand.  They may or may not be the same.    It’s my belief that the core of marketing is communication.  So what do marketers do to encourage dialogue?

 

My Attempt at Failure: Bridging the Gap

I’ve formed a team to design and build a digital community for advertisers in the Calgary Market.  We’re having our first meeting today with a few of the key architects to figure out what this will look like, how we’ll use it, who it’s targeted to, how users can access it, how content will be added etc.

My idea is to create a platform similar to http://www.openforum.com/ for local Calgary Small Businesses owners that serves as a location for them to meet, learn, share ideas.  Online, we can create relevant content for our clients and reach out to other existing marketing communities.   This content will be shareable, searchable and scalable.   People searching for marketing advice online will come to find us a resource, as experts in our field and as partners.    On traditional media platforms, we can broadcast messages to the many so that the few who are interested know our community exists and that they’re welcome to stop by for a chat, watch a video, enjoy an article from their sofa, debate the merits of one media form to another or learn how they can create their own community.

As content & conversations are created, this platform will serve to put our radio group as the thought leaders & marketing advisors in the local Calgary market.  Everything that I’ve learned from experts in the field (like Mitch Joel, Seth Godin, Daniel Anstandig, Ross Smith, Jeff Gitomer, John Jantsch, Gary Vanerchuk, CC Chapman) tell me that this should increase the traffic to our site, then engagement and then trust between our sales team and the marketing community.   As that trust and traffic build, clients will feel that our sales team is a resource for them and this platform serves as social proof that we really are here to help them grow their business.   Our business relationships will grow and the company should benefit (yes, ROI) organically from a better lead conversion with our targeted audience.

I’ve posted a PDF of my Community Flowchart here.  These are meant to be a starting discussion on the important topics that will help our team shape our community.

What do you like about your online community?

Links you may find useful

http://read.bi/cEjKwE

http://www.communityspark.com/about/

 

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