Social is for selling

Dec. 08, 2008 | by Arjo Ghosh

‘Here’s the thing’:

Social is not a distinct entity, you can’t ‘buy’ the channel, nor can you fit it into a sales funnel. The ‘media’ bit is whatever people want to make it. Some UGC amazing, some just noise. Some brands pollute the commons, some try to understand the new enviroment, earn permission, and then participate. The bit that agencies struggle with is the $$ (see Phil Buxton’s post on Twitter recently). If it ain’t for selling anything why is anyone going to spend their drastically reduced marketing budget on it. So here goes:

Social is for selling. We’re all selling something, be it opinions, thoughts or attention. Social is the biggest platform in the history of humankind for selling, and we are all invited to pitch.

Brands that want to sell things that people do not want may find this is difficult medium – it’s shockingly new, hugely complex, truly massive, and moving faster than most of us can comprehend.

Selling is anything that helps create a great perception, feeling or thought about a brand. Whether it motivates us to go out and immediately buy is another matter. If, through social outreach, we can help customers access brands, understand their products and get involved in developing the next superbrand - then this must at some point help to support price, market share and ultimately profitability.

If the bottom line is the bottom line, as marketers we need to answer how it can contribute to the commercial success of a organisation. If social is a valuable way of behaving, then it is valuable to everyone.

Social for a car maker provides a context for making better products in the future. For people everywhere it also provdes a rich utility value that can end-up in better holidays, buying the safest infant milk, or banking with a company that cares about the community it operates within.

Social has the power to add everything to the bottom line. It will make and break huge companies and change marketing forever. If social ‘ain’t for selling’ then brands cannot be intimately interwoven into our daily lives. I think that the best and worst ones help form the deepest reaches of our society.

For this reason alone, social is for selling. Now let’s go and measure that.

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    Comments (3)

    • Tamsin Hemingray

      Excellent post by Euan Semple on this - the comments are equally illuminating in my opinion. 14, 2008 11:18 am

    • Philip Buxton

      Great stuff Arjo. Really agree. The thing is people always did this - brands just couldn't see or hear it because it happened in pubs, over garden fences and over dinner. Now they can and the ones that see and listen best, will win.Dec 11, 2008 01:04 pm

    • Roger, Online PR Agency, C&M

      Hey Arjo.  Good call(s).  The more we work through this stuff, the more we'll realise that we need to change most of our fundamental approaches to marketing.  It's no longer about who can shout the loudest.  A much better approach is to listen first, then talk later - to understand what our audience is interested in before we open our mouths.  Effective web marketing does this in spades... it's all about being more relevant (and so more cost-effective), and we get to this holy place simply by being more 'social'Dec 8, 2008 11:29 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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