Thursday, June 2, 2011

There's No Place for Product Love in Social

Prior to launching Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), I worked for a marketing, advertising and public relations agency that did a fair amount of business in the residential real estate market.  The Northern Virginia division of Pulte Homes was one of the clients I supported.

Upon standing up my own consultancy much of my day was filled with business development outreach to attract an initial set of clients.  To say I leaned towards the aggressive in my sales tactics would be an understatement.

One of my mis-steps was tearing out of the newspaper a print advertisement from Pulte Homes' Maryland group and sending it to their marketing director with a handwritten note that explained why it was poorly executed.

What came back was my handwritten note with a sticky attached from the marketing director that curtly suggested I refrain from commenting on their advertisements without an understanding of the company's strategy.  Good point.

Well...I suspect I may be reliving that mistake with this blog post.

Today, I came across a group on LinkedIn entitled "We Love Iridium Satellite Phones."  This is an example of how NOT to engage in social media.  The gang at Iridium is using LinkedIn as a platform to connect with key audiences.  That's good.

Yet, the title of their group is too self-promotional, rather than thought leadership, trend or topic oriented.  While this may work in a consumer environment, in business-to-business and public sector marketing this is inappropriate because of the reticence customers, partners and influencers appropriately display in any activity that promotes a particular vendor.

This is why convincing an enterprise or government agency customer to participate in a press release or media interview is so challenging.

It's encouraging to see a successful company like Iridium step into social media.  They just need to do so in a way that is more sensitive to the unique requirements of this emerging channel.

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