TR Design’s eNewsletter covering the topics related to the branding and marketing
of technology products and medical devices.
Putting Social Media in Perspective
By Carroll Ray for Designochology®
Social media is the latest subject to dominate marketing discussions. It’s new. It’s free. And for the moment, it’s the focus of many organizations. For those of us who have been in this business for a while, it’s a familiar song. Every technological advance in marketing promises to replace everything that preceded it. In time, each technology finds its place in a comprehensive approach to branding and marketing.
Banner advertising was going to replace all other forms of advertising. Until we saw the click-through and conversion rates. Variable data printing was the secret sauce. When someone sees their name on a mailer, how could they not call and place an order? Video conferencing would make face to face meetings obsolete. But people still felt that it was important to connect. Email marketing was cheap and easy, and would replace all other forms of push marketing. Until spam laws and sophisticated spam blockers lowered expectations. YouTube was the secret weapon. Just upload your corporate video and the world would flock to watch it… then be compelled to purchase from your company. Blogging was the key. By showing how smart you are, customers will be knocking down the door to buy your products. Search Engine Optimization was the ticket. But it turns out if everyone does SEO, not everyone can be in the top 10 search results. Now, Twitter and Facebook are the be-all, and end-all of marketing.
And the list goes on — viral marketing, enewsletters, webinars, virtual trade shows, mobile media. If you listen to specialists in each individual field, they would have you believe that their specialty is all that you need to build awareness, generate leads, close sales, and build your brand.
The truth is that every technology has its advantages and disadvantages, and each has a place in an integrated marketing program. With so much focus on the vehicle that will carry the message, the danger is choosing the medium before you’re clear on the objectives, or the messages that you should be communicating. This is compounded with social media since the nature of the medium is to turn over control of your brand to anyone with a user name and password. No matter what new, exciting technology is available, the process of marketing and branding remains the same.
1. Understand your audience
2. Develop your value proposition
3. Stake out your position relative to the competition
4. Identify the objectives for the effort
5. Select the marketing vehicles that will accomplish those objectives
6. Develop messaging and designs aimed at customers’ concerns and consistent with your brand
Eventually, companies will return to a more holistic approach to branding and marketing. Selling medical devices requires the buyer to have trust in the company they’re buying from. That trust is earned with multiple impressions over a period of time. Understanding the pros and cons of each marketing medium will insure that you’re using each to its full advantage, and not expecting something from a campaign that a particular medium cannot deliver.