Marketing in a Socially Connected World

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The other day, Doug McCoy of Nordstrom Bellevue Square tweeted something that piqued my interest.

NordstromBVUE: In a socially connected world is great product the new marketing? Your thoughts…..

I actually did have a bunch of thoughts on this, so I e-mailed this tweet to myself with a note to blog about it over the weekend.

I’d have to say that yes, in a socially connected world a great product is imperative to marketing. It used to be that marketing was one-way communication — you put your product out there, and you hoped that consumers would buy it. Advertisers spent all kinds of time creating messages and strategies to impose on their target markets — most of which those markets were subjected to involuntarily. But now, through the explosion of the Internet and social media, marketing has become very much a two-way street. Customers can review products, share them, promote them and voluntarily reach out for information about them. Sounds like if your product isn’t great to begin with, you’re toast.

But, while a great product is a great start, it’s not the end of the road. You still need a clear map of how to get your product noticed because it may not be solely through traditional means of marketing (magazine advertisements, commercials, reviews by major publications). There are so many options out there these days, and you need a clear idea of who and what is influencing your target audience. How are your competitors marketing their products? Who are the major social media influencers for your product? What are the most creative ways to get your product out there?

Your product must be “share”able — if you want fans to tweet it, share it, blog about it, post it on Facebook, add it to Fancy, etc., you must make it easy for the average user to do that. For example, this could be as simple adding a white-background, magazine-worthy photo of your product to your website that bloggers or designers can use to create collages or feature your product via their own websites and publications. So many times, I’ve had to skip using a product I truly loved in a collage for my blog and use something similar instead. It’s usually because I didn’t want the actual model wearing the product in my collage — does that make sense?

I think that especially in the fashion industry, there’s been a major shift in how consumers view products and marketing. For so long, society has bought into the fallacy that buying the clothing that super-skinny models and extra-beautiful celebrities are wearing will make us look that good, too. That’s a nice fantasy (in theory), but the last few years have been an economic reality check around here. As a result, people have scaled back and are less easily swayed by marketing campaigns. Consumers are looking for real-life evidence to reinforce the fact that they’re spending their dollars on quality products. They’re not going to take your magazine ad’s word for it — they’re going to look for proof through their friends and social connections online.

And that’s where your great product comes in. If it’s great, then people will vouch for it. If it’s awesome, then people will share it willingly and promote it to their connections. So, yes. A great product is the first and most important step in marketing to a socially connected world. Getting that product out to the right influencers seals the deal.

This crazy trip has got me feelin’: kind of knowledgeable
And I’m singin’ along to: Hideaway – The Weepies

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