Building Consumer Centric Communities
CMOs are continuously looking at their marketing media mix to improve ROIs. The simple difference between traditional Media such as television, print, radio, direct mail, outdoor and even much of digital (web properties and banner ads) and Consumer Centric Communities is the difference between one-way communication (or monologues) and two-way communication (or dialogues). Traditional mediums of communication are perfectly designed to drive simple awareness of a product or service in an efficient, scalable manner. As a result, traditional media is measured by CPM as well as Aided and Unaided Recall measures. Traditional media serves a vital role in a brand’s marketing mix as it serves to drive the first pillar of the consumer purchase cycle.
The downside of Traditional Mass Media is its focus on simple awareness and struggles driving familiarity and consideration. So although television is designed to drive media efficiency, it is not perfectly designed to drive familiarity and consideration. How familiar can a consumer really get with a product within 30 seconds. Equally as important, with the documented fragmentation of television as a result of the proliferation of channels and shows and the ability for consumers to choose to avoid media measures with the ability to switch channels during commercials or block pop up ads, Traditional Mass Media or monologue messaging is becoming less effective in driving purchase. Conversely, Consumer Centric Communities may not be as efficient in driving simple awareness as Mass Media but it is highly effective in driving consideration and purchase. Why? Two-way communication or dialogue helps drive greater familiarity and hence trust much faster than repeated monologue communication. Familiarity with a product is akin to Effective Awareness rather than Simple Awareness. Effective Awareness or Familiarity means a consumer is fully aware of the benefits of the proposition. Potential consumers may or may not be appreciative of the benefits but they are aware, however they are aware enough of the proposition to move directly into “consideration”.
Networks provide marketers the opportunity to drive conversation, participation, engagement and interaction with product propositions and companies completely changing the purchase funnel. This change in purchase dynamics helps to drive greater affinity and eventual advocacy for a product or service. Ultimately, it is advocacy that every goods and services provider seeks. Imagine a large network or “tribe” of emotionally charged people singing the praises of a product or service. This can be generated more readily through a network than a Traditional Mass Marketing Medium. To be clear, I do NOT advocate the complete replacement of Mass Media spending with Consumer Community Building. I do believe that the infusion of Networks into a brand’s marketing mix will generate increased ROI through increased marketing efficacy.