Posts tagged: persuasion

Earned media

We’re seeing more and more traction from the term “earned media,” referring to fan-generated publicity at no cost to the advertiser. Sean Corcoran of Forrester developed this chart to elucidate the different types of advertising:

The role of paid advertising is rapidly changing from the forefront of company marketing strategies to the last addition, and often used to contribute to successful earned media and owned media. As the way people perceive information and make decisions changes, so must the way we reach them – true both for advertising agencies and the companies that employ them.

According to the CMO of Ford, James Farley, “You can’t just say it. You have to get the people to say it to each other.” That is the heart of earned media, of social media, and it should be at the heart of our company’s strategies for growth.

5 best ways to reach people online

According to the US Census Bureau, 3 out of 5 American households have a computer at home with internet access. A full 77% of Americans know how to use the internet and 73% use it at least daily. So the question remains, what are the best ways to reach them when they’re online? Let’s look at usage first.

58% of internet users are reading or sending email
50% are using search
38% are getting news
38% are online just to pass the time or for fun
27% are using social networking sites

It would seem from the numbers that the best way to reach people is via email, right? Well, how many of your unsolicited emails do you read? Especially if they come from a stranger? If you’re like me, very few. Let’s look at a different set of data. This is online influence on consumers for 2009 holiday purchases in the first week of December, put together by comScore:

28% were influenced by social media
21% were influenced by discounts or click-throughs on Facebook or Twitter
13% were influenced by consumer-generated reviews
12% were influenced by expert reviews

Now, if you’re trying to sell something to the 73% of Americans who are using the internet daily, what are your best bets?

  1. Consumer generated reviews. Sites like and allow users to rate and comment on their experience with your product. Bloggers (non-sponsored and unpaid) have a great deal of clout as well. These methods work great because the 50% of Americans using the internet for searching will likely stumble onto reviews in the course of their search. Additionally, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter can link to reviews of your product creating more clout.
  2. Expert generated reviews. Let’s face it. Some people prefer to follow what the experts do. And if someone like cnet says your product is better than competitors’ you’re likely to generate good sales. Again, that review will appear in search engines and can be linked to on social media sites, garnering even more popularity.
  3. Discount it! You don’t want to give away the farm, but we’re seeing more and more people clicking on bargain offers while trying to save some cash. When those discounts are given on social media sites returns will be amplified, reaching the 28% who are influenced by social media as well as the 21% who click through links on Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Place ads on Facebook and popular games. When people are logged in to a popular game like Mafia Wars you have a captive audience. When they’re scanning Facebook for friends’ status updates, videos, and pictures, you have the same phenomenon. Facebook also generates highly targeted ads for a very low cost. Companies are noticing that returns on Facebook ads are much better than returns on other online ads, and often much better than returns on traditional media ads.
  5. Make a video. Videos are targeted well by search engines and they play a large role in social media engagement. Upload a video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Google Video and start sharing it on Facebook and Twitter. Make it catchy, unexpected, and end it with a transaction-minded call to action. Videos can be viral, when they’re done well. Why not give it shot now?

DWIii-ted on Twitter!

Montgomery Texas is getting ready to name drunk drivers on Twitter! Name ‘em & shame ‘em! This is just one more way local municipalities are using Twitter for public administration at the civic level. I love it. Twitter account @MontgomeryTXDAO will post names of people arrested for DWI (driving while intoxicated) in an effort to persuade people to find a designated driver.

Apparently there’s some controversy about it – lawyers tell us that it isn’t right to publicize a DWI offender until he’s had his day in court. But as for me, I’m happy with any plan that keeps me and my kids a little safer on the road.

Tweet DWI

Tell me a story

Hat tip to Seth Godin who posted a great article this morning on challenge of marketing. We – as marketers or business owners or political proponents – expect people to think like us.  We think we can just tell them what we think or maybe why we think it, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

The challenge lies in helping them see your idea through their lens, not yours. If you study the way religions and political movements spread, you can see that this is exactly how it works. Marketers of successful ideas rarely market the facts. Instead, they market stories that match the worldview of the people being marketed to.

This is why telling stories is more effective than standing on a soap box or spouting facts about your product or service. People relate to experiences. You’re more likely reach an audience talking about the blueberries your kid smooshed on his shirt (that you got out with your special stain remover) than you are by reporting the enzyme properties of that stain remover.

megaphone-kid-marketingThat’s what makes social media so intuitive. It gives you the platform to tell your story, and interact with other people who are telling their stories about your product or service. There’s nothing more brilliant than that.

11 Tips to Persuade

Thanks to Shaun Groves for his spot-on tips on persuading people. He talks specifically about selling people on a response to children living in poverty, but for the most part his tips are highly useful wherever you are. My favorites were:

#4: No statistics. They’re great for powerpoint presentations and board room arguments, but in your typical coctail party conversation or elevator exchange, a single story can pack more punch than a list of statistics.

#7: Be positive. Show a little of the problem, a lot of the solution. People don’t like to feel guilty. They don’t like uncomfortable conversations. They’re put off by ‘difficult situations.’ Focus on the solution, stay upbeat.

And then there’s Point #2 – Don’t lie. And exaggerating is lying. When I’m watching the commercials at game time, I wonder if any of those people sitting in their advertising offices have ever heard that one. Just sayin’.
Marketing Megatrends
Thanks to Adam Kleinberg at iMedia Connection for his post yesterday about what he calls the Elephant in the room. There are 5 guiding factors, he says, that are driving successful marketing campaigns today – not the branding and strategically designed brand-unique stuff, but the overarching how-to’s of applying it.

For each of the 5 he gives an example of a company that’s doing it right. The usual suspects are in there – Apple, Sprint, IBM, but the surprises aren’t really so surprising – Ally Bank (formerly GMAC), the maker of those cute commercials where the suited grown-up tricks a kid with a bike or a hores; and Alibaba, who you would surely know if you’ve ever looked into a wholesaling or import/export business – they make the big, scary world a lot smaller.

The five megatrends he lists are the driving factors behind the success of both social media and social enterprise – user-generated content, constant connectivity, and distrust in big business play directly into the hands of social media. The world becoming smaller through technology and urgency to fix modern problems fuel green initiatives and social enterprise.

When it comes down to it, the principles that are driving successful marketers are accessible to everyone – the market has turned highly favorable for small business, and that can only be good. The climate of the market encourages competition and invites entrepreneurial innovation. All signs point to this trend having a reasonably long life-span, and we’re looking forward to seeing what new brands emerge to challenge those big businesses that have traditionally had a corner on the market.


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