The Junta 42 Top Blogs

A nice surprise occurred over the weekend as the Emerson Direct Blog cracked the top 25 of the top 42 blogs according to Junta 42. Any time we can be recognized for anything we do on behalf of the industy that we work in, it’s a nice feather in the cap.

The Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs list was designed to organize and feature the best blogs on the internet that discuss some aspect of content marketing. Content marketing is all about the creation of great, story-form content (delivered through any channel) that ultimately influences someone to buy your product, take an action, or believe in a cause Here is more detail on the Junta 42 selection process. Thanks Joe Pulizzi

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Direct response marketing and social media have not evolved yet.

This morning as I was laying in bed deciding if I should get up. I start thinking of the strangest of things. One of them being direct response marketing, which is built on the premise that the customer is required or prompted for an immediate response. Of course it comes in many forms. “Act now”,… call this 800 number within the next…”order now and we’ll also add…”. You all get the point.

So my thoughts were, can there be a business model that ties in social media to direct marketing? I immediately went and Googled, “direct response marketing and social media”, and  the results look like this:

social-media-and-dr.jpg

Thats great, the results show 3 links with stars that point back to Emerson Direct sites. Apparently we are one of the few companies actually engaged in thinking and writing and actually trying to meld the 2 disciplines into a viable working business model that clients and companies can utilize in driving traffic, sales, and eyeballs to their products and services.

Ok so here’s the deal.  I looked at the first result on the page and the original article came from Hollis Thomases at Clicks, the article Social Media Advertising: No Direct Response Proposition asserts that because of the ROI driven impatient nature of most DR marketers, the social media marketing model does not work. A valid point given the amount of time it takes to establish and grow any social network. But is it really? Or is that just a knee jerk reaction? Given the explosive growth and the phenomenal nature of social networks, my question would be, Why wouldn’t you want to go after targeted traffic congregating in one place? Isn’t that the challenge? To find that traffic, that demographic, so that you can market to it?

Hollis states that:

The problem with reconciling direct response (DR) advertising and social media is that to most advertisers, it’s all about a mathematical equation. If the numbers don’t work, they see the campaign as a failure. This mentality just doesn’t jibe with how social media ad campaigns succeed. Social media is about nurturing. In fact, the process is really more marketing than advertising, period. So unless the DR marketer is comfortable with the “D” standing for “delayed,” channel your ad dollars elsewhere.

I can again, partially agree with that but… Here are some questions that marketers and advertisers can ask themselves:

1) Why can’t Youtube, Flickr, and any type of VOD(video on demand) be a vehicle for a DRTV type of marketing? There are already a ton of advertisers taking advantage of viral videos. What do you see in the first 10-20 seconds of a lot of the video you see? A quick spot. What about URL’s watermarked on the bottom of videos? Why or what is stopping a DR marketer from tryinig to piggyback or create a DR spot that is used only in a Youtube type format? has it been done? I’m not sure. But I’m going to venture to say yes it has. Perhaps because of the fear of a low ROI or the time it takes for some of these social media sites to evolve it has driven marketers into a position of paralysis by analysis?

Isn’t a viral video a type of DRTV? Think about it, it spread so rapidly because the RESPONSE is so instant! The same holds true for direct mail for example. Isn’t a viral email the same as direct response mail? Your response to the email is direct, immediate and viral. Your attention is captivated and you must act. And what do you do? You send it to your favorites, the people that are most like you. Targeted, immediate and impressionable.

So the question remains: Can you or do you build relationships, which is the basis of social media in favor of a direct and immediate reponse? Or is there a happy medium? The only way for DR marketers to find out is to try. Sure it’s easy to say it doesn’t work and to fall back on what you know, but why would you ignore one of the most amazing technological advances to come along since Google?

Think you can make money on social media sites?

Can advertisers/marketers make money in a social networking environment? That is the real question.

Forrester reports about 30 percent of social networking site users embrace a brand so that they could become eligible for  freebies,exclusive offers, events or sales or because another friend recommended it. Forrester gave this type of social consumer reaction as “friendonomics.” Granted it greatly helped the brand if they(the users) had some clue about what the brand was all about prior to befriending it, but it wasn’t a complete deal killer.

With that being said in regards to having a clue about the brand, Forrester states, Gen Y users “show the greatest interest, with 37% saying they would be interested in seeing marketer profiles on social networking sites. Gen X isn’t far behind, with 31% showing interest.”

What appears to work though and is gaining some traction, is the creation of widgets or apps on Facebook.  If you use Facebook, you no doubt have noticed the plethora of new apps that have appeared over the past few months. These apps, created by marketers for instance, give some legs and visibility to brands, new products and sites that are looking for traffic and eyeballs.

Back in August of 2007, Google filed another  patent for “user-distributed advertisements” (UDA) whereby the UDA system “facilitates insertion of manually selected ads into a document that is to be distributed (e.g., transmitted, published, and/or posted) such that the document is to be made available to other users.”

The document explains why it’s a good idea: “Although advertising systems such as AdWords and AdSense have proven to be very effective tools for advertisers to reach a receptive audience, even automated systems that use sophisticated targeting techniques often can’t match the effectiveness of manual targeting. However, manual targeting techniques don’t scale well. Therefore, it would be useful to provide a scaleable advertising system that achieves at least some of the benefits of manual targeting. It would also be useful to provide a system of charges and/or rewards to encourage useful manual targeting of ads. Further, it would also be useful to track and use performance metrics of such ads if doing so would help an advertising system serve ads that are more useful. Finally, it would be useful to provide data structures and interfaces for enabling advertisers to participate in a system for manual insertion of ads into a document for distribution.”

Long story short is that Google wants to figure out a way for its users to be worker Bees that essentially spread or carry advertising. What better way then to incentivize every possible action that someone does while online. So I send you an email and I go ahead and drop a couple of Adsense bombs in the body of the email and off you go to make us both money. All of a sudden it does pay to advetise via email again and the more viral the better!

The problem with trying to tie together advertising for instance, and social media is that to most and we’ll use direct response, is that DR advertisers, are going to look at specific measurable results which essentially will tell them if it’s a) worth it and b) should they test again. the problem with social networking sites and advertising, at least right now is that the results of advertisers are not yet quantifiable or measurable to a degree of their liking. There is too much grey area.

It’s grey because Social media is about engaging the prospect, befriending the prospect and winning the prospects trust instead of vomiting the information(makes for a great visual doesn’t it?) and the pitch, all over them. And if you don’t think is true, go ahead and try it and let us know what type of experience you have.

Essentially the whole social media experience as it pertains to direct response is more about marketing than it is about advertising. And to that end traditional  online or offline advertising will not work in this environment anyways. So don’t bother.