I’ve been busy with end of the year work and now I’m back on track. For those of you that follow the designdamage blog since the beginning, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the support and hope I can continue to provide value for your time.
Now back to work.
After reviewing some important data and content from 2009, I’ve come to these conclusions that in 2010 social media will follow the footsteps of SEO and other forms of digital advertising: on the path to commoditization. As I’ve mentioned in the post “When to Adopt Social Media for Your Business?” that social media is still in the early adopters stage, but it’s heading towards early majority phase as the concept of connecting and sharing information online are gradually accepted.
According to eMarketer’s report supported by research from Cone “More than one-half of new media users (53%) believe brands should have a presence in new media, interacting with consumers as needed or by request only, while a further 36% demand a new media presence with regular interaction.” These type of users wants experience, dialogue and immediacy so if you want in on social media, you must provide a combination of those attributes.
So what can you do that’s different in 2010 that you haven’t try in 2009? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Create New Brands & Co-Branding
The shift in consumer behavior will continue towards “value” even for luxury brands so private label brands and sub-brands will stand to benefit moving forward as we emerge out of the recession slowly.
For companies with strong core brand, creating a sub-brand or a new one that targets new customer base has been a popular strategy.
For businesses looking for cost-effective and fast-to-market ideas you can try partnering with other companies for a co-branding effort that creates exposure in other markets while extends your brand story.
Develop a Fascinating Story For Your Brand
The word-of-mouth marketing will continue to grow acting as trust agents providing top of mind reference for consumers. Brands will shift advertising strategy to focus more on storytelling rather than push advertising.
This means developing a story that demonstrate the personality of the brand in campaigns such as supporting non-profit initiatives (social responsibility, cause marketing), co-branding to create unique content, or collect and promote stories about your customers.
The idea is to implement customer engagement strategies for the company to build a strong human connection that helps build brand loyalty. Incorporating free resources to help educate your audience is another way to develop a story.
Another great way to build a rewards program around your social network fans by rewarding their participation. Another great way to ramp up your fans is to offer them something they can’t get elsewhere
Collect Valuable Customer Data
It’s time to review your customer data collection process especially if you’re going to use social media with traditional media.
Information such as where they are, what they spend money on, what are the key influences, and what content or applications they download can provide you some advantage for tailoring future product/service experiences to the individual. Just knowing their demographic or what they buy will not be enough, leverage social media’s crowdsourcing feature and establish
The take away: It’s indicative from this past holiday shopping data that consumers simply wants more for less. This is where smart companies find ways to cut costs so they can pass on the savings to the consumers.
It’s about keeping the customers coming back, allowing word-of-mouth to work in favor of value for money incentives, and maintaining a healthy relationship with your customers. Why would customers come back or past on your name to others when you didn’t provide value beyond what they paid for?
If you’re a small business, think of ways you can leverage technology instead of people and be creative with your marketing dollar.
Discounts, promotions, rewards programs are all vehicles to build a relationship with your customers. You may see smaller profits and longer time to get the ROI (return on investment), but that’s all part of investing in your customer for the long haul.
If you want customers to be loyal to your brand, be prepare to deliver a consistent level of value and experience that they can come to expect in 2010.
The goal is to build and maintain customer trust, a key to gaining access to more profitable relationships with customers and competitive differentiation.
We’ll be looking at B2B ideas next to help with strategy planning in 2010.