Industry Trends 2013 – Social Club vs Scary Movie


Integrating social media into the marketing mix

Social Media is a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde character in marketing circles. Everyone loves Dr Jekyll — a place where people come together to have fun, which provides the perfect platform for brands to stay close to their consumers. But then there’s Mr Hyde — a darker side that’s proved to be a bit of a horror story in terms of realising returns.

I think the problem stems from the fact that we’ve forgotten that Social Media is just another channel — a hugely important one admittedly — but certainly not some magic potion that will cure or kill campaigns.

So let’s take it out of the shadows and have a look at it in the reassuring light of day. The difficulty in monetising marketing on Social Media is legendary — returns on platforms such as Facebook have been mercurial at best. But this patchy performance is almost always down to the fact it’s seen as a standalone solution.

Like every other channel, it needs to integrate into the wider mix. Any sensible marketer would know that scatter-gun marketing using email, for example, isn’t going to lead to healthy CTR or conversion. So why do we think that scatter-gun advertising on Facebook is going to be any different?

We have to enhance the very considerable benefits that Facebook gives us with data from different sources. So what if a customer ‘Likes’ your brand? It doesn’t mean very much unless we can apply additional customer understanding generated through other channels.

Experian Marketing Services Alchemy Ad Manager platform has helped one international retailing client to re-energise both its Facebook and email approaches — integrating and cross-fertilising understanding from both into a single campaign. As Experian is one of the very few companies accredited to work with Facebook, the combination Experian’s Alchemy Ad Manager and CheetahMail platforms has enabled the client’s existing email database to be uploaded to the Social Media platform, allowing the linking of email addresses to profiles.
Suddenly, the retailer can apply the understanding it has carefully built for its email customers to Facebook profiles, with highly personalised marketing. A customer might receive an email in the morning telling them of a flash sale — and see advertising that’s aligned to the sale when they login to Facebook. Email is boosted too. Linking Facebook to email allows the company to re-connect with customers who have ‘gone dark’ — those who no longer respond to email or may have changed addresses.

And yes, it’s delivered that most elusive of Social Media metrics: demonstrable bottom line returns. Click through rates, £ per click ROI, web traffic, orders and revenue are all up in comparison to standalone campaigns.

Taking the time to integrate Social Media is well worth the effort. It could be the difference between having to check that the bogeyman isn’t hiding in the wardrobe before putting your campaign to bed — or enjoying a more sociable and successful outcome.

If you missed my other posts in this series you can find them here:


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