Viral marketing and Twitter gone right – the comment & the blog

On my last blog I received a comment I thought deserved a longer response than should be posted within the comment section. So, I decided to pick up the comment and carry it onto a new post.

The blog comment david_becker: I disagree with this article as this is a “contest” and not a viral campaign. Before positioning himself as a expert I reccomend [sic] that the author should get some Marketing 101 lessons.

My comment [now expanded]: David – thank you for the suggestion that Adecco sponsored a contest and not a viral campaign with their Labor Day offer.

Earlier, as close as 5 years ago, marketing meant: tell a compelling story about a service or product. Meanwhile, public relations meant: get media to tell a story that includes your service, product, or company.

I believe, contest or campaign, that Adecco did have a goal for this project. I assume measuring activity was important to that goal, not to just give away $500. A $500 giveaway would hardly pay for the “Help Adecco Recognize American Workers” YouTube video or the layout and copy?

As with tradition pieces of their marketing mix, fortunately, Adecco can measure their “American Workers”, web-based campaign. They use 3 common ways to track social media activity “@” to measures tweets, a url to measure clicks, and YouTube’s ability measure views

I speculate, and can only speculate, Adecco’s contest had one of 3 goals:

  1. reinforce Adecco’s brand through awareness
  2. increase Adecco’s brand through awareness
  3. increase Adecco’s market size

If I were Adecco, I would not have celebrated The American worker, Labor Day, current and potential clients, and Adecco contractors and employees with a contest, but a slightly different marketing strategy:

If asked to reinforce the Adecco brand through awareness, I would advocate Adecco send an email to the current employee and contractor database with key messages that:

  • celebrate the hard work of Adecco’s employees and customers,
  • acknowledge the shared dedication to excellence through current challenges, and
  • reinforce the partnership of Adecco and their clients to make a difference

This email would include plenty of “calls to action” and would accomplish reinforcing Adecco’s brand. A call to action would include: forward, reply, or post to social media sites [ShareThis is a great example].

If asked to increase Adecco’s brand through awareness, I would advocate Adecco send the same copy from the email above to Adecco employees and contractors. However, I would send a second, different email to current Adecco clients and include contacts on Adecco’s leads and sales pipeline. This second email would celebrate client efforts this Labor Day and acknowledge the shared dedication to excellence that both they and Adecco have in these current challenges.

A subtle difference in the employee email would be a call to action invitation for all Adecco employees and contractors to view the client-related, email and to share the acknowledgment of the role they have helping Adecco’s clients and their employees meet the challenges in their work. This reinforces the importance all Adecco employees are to Adecco’s success.

The goals for both first and second strategy would include:

  • The recognition and acknowledgment* current Adecco employees and contractors are in Adecco’s success,
  • reinforce how important clients are, and
  • plant a positive seed to current clients and potential clients to reach out to Adecco for further personnel strategy as Adecco shares the commitment to success

If I was asked to increase Adecco’s market size, I would advocate Adecco send the email from the second example to all Adecco employees. However, I would further customize the client email with a call to action for anyone who wants to talk about current challenges or learn more about how Adecco has helped deliver solutions to clients. The “contact us” would link to a landing page with a brief video collage of real employees and contractors as well as real client testimonials and then have a call to action to contact an Adecco representative. The key to the video is strong testimonials and further video options that show client testimonials on how Adecco understands and meets their challenges.

The goals to increase market size would also build upon the first and second strategies above as well as:

  • offer client-focused, solutions-based information with a focused perspective on client’s needs,
  • no mention of Adecco in the voice-over,
  • no mention of Adecco statistics, and
  • calls to action to share openly with others

All 3 [briefly outlined] strategies I propose would focus on stakeholder [current employees and clients] solutions. These strategies focus the message on the voice of customer/stakeholder and recognize, celebrate, and build community with Adecco; from the view of the worker, client, or community.

In the follow-up from the Marketing 101 text [incidentally, I took Marketing 101 in 2001] content that is valued becomes a story people are happy to tell. The message resonates because it solves a problem or clarifies a challenge. Building single-click call-to-actions throughout the message or story makes it easy to shared with others.

However, in Adecco’s contest, Adecco kept the focus on Adecco, to include carefully scripted conditions for cash prize eligibility. I believe either Adecco’s contest or viral marketing campaign would have been more effective if they took the customer-focused response, and if both their message and video were compelling. Adecco needs more faith in themselves to tell a story someone is energized by. If they can tell this story someone would have posted the video to YouTube, without prompt. People also would have retweeted, without a cash incentive. Perhaps less people than the contest campaign, but those that would have are the people who believe in the message and in Adecco.

Here is an example of a successful social media marketing campaign known as Will It Blend. The measurement of success: one YouTube had 7,000,000 views, yes, seven million views and sales increased 700%, yes seven hundred percent; all without a single contest offer for cash.

Postscript 1: I live in Cambridge and enjoy walking the streets of this creative, vibrant, eclectic city. When someone comes up and interrupts meet to ask if I have time to take a survey or to answer a question, whether I have the time or not, I most likely will not give them my time, even if I know the topic up front – and I do, I do care about the whales… Marketing 101 is the strategy of interruption.

Postscript 2: My reporter and journalist friends tell me when they get an assignment, the first place they go to research is Google. As a former press coordinator for both a record company and a life sciences company this interests me. Why is this interesting? Well, the first place I go for research on a product, person, company, or news story is Google too. The public relations side of Marketing 101 is to interrupt media with a controlled message.

The Marketing 2.0 objective:  if it is remarkable, people will talk about it

*Frederick Herzberg’s brilliant study “Motivation to Work” applies here.

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Comments 5

  1. Pingback: Marketing on Twitter

  2. You really make it seem so simple with your presentation but I find that topic to be really something that I think I would under no circumstances understand. It seems too complicated and also really broad for me. I am looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
    ZMMI Marketing

    1. Post

      It is tough for me to work with a comment like ” … something under no circumstances understand”.

      If you look for the principles of social media, you’ll find an understanding, if you look to manipulate social media or view social media as a fad, you’ll, under no circumstances, understand social media.

      I think this is your company’s 4th comment, the first 3 were overt spam, so it seems some things do improve with effort.

  3. Pingback: How to Make Your Campaign Go Viral 

  4. Employee advocacy is described as the exposure that employees generate for brands using their personal social media accounts.
    SocioAdvocacy also lets you track the effectiveness of advocacy marketing across social media, hence improving it with real-time feedback.

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