Category Archives: Promotions

Marketers Sick of Web 2.0? Not So Fast

Survey results released this week from the Marketing Executives Networking Group and Anderson Analytics are getting a lot of play in the blogosphere, particularly this nugget from the press release:

Twice as many marketers are “sick” of hearing about Web 2.0 and related buzzwords such as “blogs” and “social networking” compared to last year’s survey; however, marketers still admit they don’t know enough about it.  This was evident in the results of a social media study MENG released on November 6, 2008 showing 67% of executive marketers consider themselves beginners when it comes to using social media for marketing purposes.

A couple of points here. First, only 19.4% of the 643 respondents said they were tired of hearing the term “Web 2.0” (up from 9.1% a year ago), 12.2 % said the same about “social networking”, and 11.3% cited “social media” as a term they had tired of. Not exactly overwhelming condemnation of the concepts. And it’s no surprise that the year-over-year numbers would go up, considering those terms generate an endless drumbeat of media coverage. Hell, I’m sick of hearing about/reading about/saying them myself.

What the press release and subsequent coverage of the survey overlook is that when the respondents were asked what they considered to be the most important marketing concepts, the percentages citing “word of mouth,” “social network sites,” “viral marketing,” “Web 2.0,” and “consumer generated media” all rose year-to-year. Granted, these categories did not crack the respondents’ top 10 priorities (word of mouth was #11), but it’s clear that these concepts are rising in importance, even as the buzzwords themselves are becoming cliche.

The greater concern should be whether marketers will be able to sustain any progress they’ve made with their social media marketing programs. With more than half the respondents noting that their ’09 budgets have been reduced, the tendency will be to fall back on more traditional investments like sales promotions, which are viewed as safer bets than the experimentation that goes into identifying social media strategies that really work. The sales folks will be happy, but innovation will take a hit. So even though 79% of the execs in the MENG survey said that customer satisfaction was their top priority, customers can expect to be subjected to the same hard-sell tactics that have become so annoying (and so easy to ignore). Talk about tired.

Marketing in a Downturn – Hey Consumer, Run Up More Debt!

Went through two weeks of junk mail last night, mostly credit card/personal loan promotions from banks and mortgage providers. A sampling:

” … you’ve been pre-approved for this Visa Business Platinum Card offer! You’ll start with a low rate of 0% on all purchases and balance transfers … Please note there is a 3% transfer fee for all balances you transfer. Remember, to keep your great rates, be sure to always pay your bill on time!”

“It doesn’t get any easier than this. Now you have the ability and flexibility to do what you want when you want. Simply use one of the enclosed access checks for your Platinum Plus Visa credit card account.”

“A generous $30,000 Personal Loan offer is waiting!”

“Home loans – It’s like finding money you didn’t know you had.”

“You’re Pre-Approved for the United Mileage Plus Visa card with no annual fee for the first year – that’s a $60 value.” <a perfect match: pair up your propensity to overspend with our struggling airline – we all win!>

Shame on marketers in the financial services industry for continuing to entice customers to spend beyond their means, often through short-term “0%” promotions that bump up to Prime plus X after 6-9 months (and don’t forget to pay on time, or bad things can happen!). Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?