Mobile, Social Media

Own not owned: how smart brands do digital

Marketers, we all like to think we’re really cool. “Another selfie contest!” Yet there’s something we can learn from the past, before social networks, before social media when marketers relied largely on print-radio-TV-billboards. So with the range of digital marketing opportunities available today, why rely on just social networks?

Businesses themselves, social networks are under pressure to actually generate revenue their platforms; and so Facebook has been reducing the organic reach of brand pages while simultaneously increasing the range of advertising options. Many brands have felt their Facebook reach fall by 50% in just a few months.

“Held hostage!” reflected one glum brand manager. Put more kindly what social networks are doing is ‘renting’ space to brands – raising the rent by forcing brands to buy ADS to compensate for falling reach.

Good news: brands do have options. They can, of course, try out new platforms from social networks to chat apps. But medium to long-term should box smart by having their own ‘owned’ platform to complement their use of social media.

Taco Bell famously created a stir by declaring that they were leaving social media and that #onlyintheapp was the new way for customers to engage with them. In other words, their strategy and the wave of earned media it created, drove people to try out their new app, where they can order from Taco Bell and are re-engaged by the brand.

Yes Taco Bell was being tongue-in-cheek and they did switch back on their social media accounts. Digital marketing, much like a good taco, has several ingredients, including popular social networks! At the end of the day what matters is what platforms deliver the most results for your business.

Digicel MORE* offers a new capability to clients where people using even feature phone users can access a stripped version of the campaign of its web browser ‘managed platform’. Social media is of course in the mix, used to drive traffic to the platform where brands collect opt-in data, engage, build communities and re-engage.

This owned platform serves a range of app functionalities from user-generated content to games via your smartphone web browser. Stripped down versions can be served via USSD to basic, non-web enabled handsets. While SMS, social, programmatic advertising and even call to actions on physical objects direct the customer to the platform – this method saw Red Stripe in Jamaica sell 100,000s of beers with an under-the-cap promotion.

*I consult for Silverstone Solutions which provides this solution to Digicel.

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