25 June – Can FMCG and retail brands learn from IT companies and their social media strategy?

 

Often the retail or FMCG industries are seen as the pioneers of the marketing world. After all, it is generally accepted that the roots of direct marketing lie in the mail order and catalogue businesses of the early 80s, trying to find new, more effective ways of getting consumers to spend more of their disposable income on their products.

 

Direct marketing is all well and good, but it’s the IT industry which has innovated faster and further than arguably any other industry in the history of the world. With computing power evolving at a rate which is astonishing in its own right, its unsurprising that this industry is at the cutting edge of marketing technology.

 

Old problems new solutions

 

Having painted a picture of a fast-moving, innovative industry I am going to juxtapose that with this; the IT industry has had largely the same distribution model since computers and computing technology were first seen as commercial commodities. The model involved large networks of ‘channel partners’, selling products and services via a diversity of sales partners, resellers, PC dealers and distributors.

 

What’s interesting is that the internet, email and social media have all added new ways to market to customers, but the model hasn’t changed. The same problems exist now, as they did in the past; brands find it difficult to reach their customers because these are not directly engaged with the brands but with the brands’ partners. And these partners, who work with tens of suppliers, haven’t the time or resources to market the brands’ products and services effectively.

 

That’s where channel marketing comes into play; helping your partners and yourself by marketing your products through them. In the past, this was a time-consuming, expensive and a hard-to-measure exercise. With often thousands of small, partners often only the larger, more important partners got any assistance. This is obviously inefficient.

 

Whilst the internet, email and social media haven’t necessarily changed the sales model, what they have done is successively changed the ease with which channel partner marketing can happen, especially on social media.

 

How Retail / FMCG brands aren’t that dissimilar to IT companies

 

I want you to re-read my last section and replace the word “partner” with “retailer”. Suddenly, it becomes the retail and FMCG model; the brand at the top making the product, selling (often) indirectly through retailers (often hundreds or thousands of them).

 

Brands need to find a way to get to the customer, and find a way despite not selling directly to them.

 

They often run promotional campaigns with their retailers either in-store or via co-branded marketing campaigns, because their retailers are time-poor and lacking in resources to mount a sustained marketing campaign. Because of the complexity and expensive nature of these marketing campaigns, brands only focus on the larger retailers, leaving the majority of their retailer network out in the cold when it comes to marketing.

 

What do IT companies do and what can Retail / FMCG brands do?

 

A concept which I have worked on for the past 4 years has revolved around content syndication on social media, effectively allowing IT brands to amplify their content far further than they would otherwise be able to do.

 

The process sounds simple (and it is), but it’s incredibly effective at getting your content read by your customers, and it has many downstream benefits too. IT brands create and target content based on a range of filters and targets, so that the right content gets to the right partner. The partner than takes this content and posts it through the platform (and in less than 3 clicks from the email) to their social media profiles. There’s then a large analytics engine which gathers every interaction, every like, retweet and share.

 

Marketing on social media becomes consistent and because of its regularity and reach, become more effective. Partners are socially-enabled, feel confident on social media, and start to build up a presence in their own right.

 

As more content is seen and consumed by more people, more opportunities are created to sell.

 

The same can be true for retail and FMCG brands. In fact, we have recently released a case study on our customer, and FMCG brand, Mountain Hardwear, where we detailed precisely how social media syndication and amplifying content changed consumer behaviour, driving more sales for retailers and Mountain Hardwear alike.

 

Conclusion

 

My conclusion therefore, is that retail and FMCG brands can learn from IT companies in their approach to social media. How to make it work more effectively, how to get the best out of their marketing efforts, and how to use their retail network to positively affect consumer behaviour to drive sales.

 

If you want to find out more about how socialondemand and newsondemand could help your FMCG or retail brand, or even if you’re an IT company that wants to make the most of their partner network, please email me now.

 

17 June – Are major car manufacturers missing a trick on social media?

 

PCA 180614

 

 

Social media amplification is an emerging trend for IT companies but it applies to most industries and verticals, including the Automotive sector.  Worth a look!

 

In the IT sector, 90% of all sales are made through different tiers and types of intermediaries (resellers, System Integrators, distributors, etc.), making it very difficult for brands to market directly to the end-user buyers.  These typically have no contact with the original product brands but deal exclusively with the intermediaries who are actually selling and supporting the products.

 

Fortunately, with the advent of social media, I came up with a solution that allowed these large IT companies to socially enable their intermediaries – socialondemand®. By helping IT brands to provide social media content to their sales partners – in an automated, yet targeted manner – and by making it simple for these intermediaries to publish that content on their social networks, we created a new way for brands to co-market with their partners.

 

This isn’t something I’ve seen so far in the Automotive sector.

 

Today, it seems all the discussions focus on ‘social media training for car dealers’. This is clearly something all companies should invest in but without ‘content’, car dealers will continue to struggle with social media – like any other intermediaries, they simply don’t have the time, knowledge, marketing know-how to create content and successfully join the social media band wagon.

 

So what’s the benefit of adopting a platform like socialondemand?

 

Firstly, it’s successful; we have some of the largest companies in the world, like Microsoft, Adobe, Oracle, Xerox and McAfee to name a few, that are using socialondemand and achieving great results.  These brands can reach a cost per click (CPC) of $0.15, demonstrating how cost-effective social media amplification can be.

 

Secondly, it would make the dealers’ life easier. Most of them are resource-constraints, and without the skills and budgets to consistently create rich content. Today, for dealers, content can be hit and miss, and takes significant resources to find, sift, edit and post/ retweet.

 

Finally, for the Car/Parts Manufacturers, helping dealers with content will dramatically increase the brand’s reach and awareness and general traffic to the main sites. Brands will be able to more effectively reach their end-user customers, and really influence their behaviour, driving more prospects into dealerships and turning more prospects into buyers.

 

If you want to know more about how Auto Manufacturers can benefit from socialondemand®, then call me, my details are below.

 

Olivier

Tel: 07876 472461
Email: olivierc@purechannelapps.com