Okay, But I Get To Be On Top!
March 8, 2011
Susan: I'm not so sure we should do this.
Josh: Do what?
Susan: Well, I like you ... and I want to spend the night with you.
Josh: Do you mean sleep over?
Susan: Well, yeah.
Josh: OK ... but I get to be on top.
Remember that dialogue between Tom Hanks and Elizabeth Perkins in the movie "Big"? Two different conversations totally taking place between the two.
Last week's Merge tapped into how social and digital channels give us the privilege to create worthwhile conversation with the folks who have the power to define us, as well as discussed how we'll start going over ways to gauge measurable success with social media, but taking one step back, before we can properly gauge success, are we sure we're on the same page as our audience?
There's another classic scene from the 1988 movie "Big," where Tom Hanks (who's playing Josh, a 13-year-old boy in an adult body) doesn't get it. Remember this scene? The toy makers are so proud of the next product they will market, but Josh, who is actually someone who would purchase and consume and perhaps influence others to buy, hesitantly raises his hand because he doesn't get it.
Whether it's content and/or conversation we are using to build upon the brand, are we enhancing or interfering with Josh's ability to connect with our brands?
The more I think about it, we can only really measure success once we know we're giving our consumers what they expect from us digitally and socially. Perhaps it's as simple as consistency with what they've experienced from our traditional product, peppered with elements of discovery and surprise.
Perhaps consumer opinions on website usability, blog content, what we offer via text clubs and how we behave on social channels should have a larger fraction in decision-making as we create websites, build social communities, etc., but how do we go about collecting this information?
There are great research firms to take advantage of, including Jacobs Media. Fred Jacobs is generous to offer his time and insight to Merge:
"In a digital world, it's important to know where your consumers are today -- and where they may be around the corner. Ask the right questions: What media and devices are they using now ... and how has that usage changed in the past year?
Second, if you have a database, you have a research foundation. A web survey of your own audience will provide vast information about their media habits, gadgets and preferred platforms, as well the content they care about. Ask about the type of relationship they'd like to have with you instead of their favorite song or prizes they'd like to win. We have to start asking different questions.
Third, listen to them. Allow for conversations to take place on social media pages and participate in them. Don't just use a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account to run promos. What can you provide for them that they aren't getting from the myriad of digital options they have available to them?
Finally, consider observational research of some type. On the one hand, ethnographic research is a fascinating way to watch consumers using media. It is, however, expensive. An alternative is to just observe real people in real situations - in restaurants, at sporting events and concerts, and even friends as they drive. How are they using media ... and what can you take away from these observations? What impact do they have on the programming you're providing?"
Study user praise, user issues -- when there's a pattern, have a plan in place to take action. We can measure real success when we know we're enhancing, not interfering with the audience's ability to connect with us. There's actually an art to marketing conversation and that's the world we are in today. However, radio is the original social network, so as long as we're merging our traditional skills and ability to connect one-on-one online, digitally and socially, we'll be all right..
It's more about creating movements than it is campaigns. We get closer to these movements when we consider that culture is really king.
Reach out to me anytime on Twitter @lorilewis.
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