Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Common Sense=Social Media Expertise

In my years of working in Social Media, I have watched Marketing people lemming after every single trend, Next Big Thing and meme that pops up on their radar. In Marketing, it seems, people are always drowning and everything that floats by looks like a life raft.

I'm not trying to be mean here, but from my perspective as a consumer, your company is just not as important to me as it is to you. I am not convinced that I need my sheets to be "spring breeze fresh" every day. I'm not convinced that your customer service is the best, when I ask you a question and you never bother to respond. Nor is your exciting new /fillintheblank/ probably half as exciting or new as you think.

Good marketing is about understanding the needs of your market. Your market is people who will actually *buy* your product or service. This is not the same thing as your audience. Your audience is everyone you speak to on the street or at networking events, your friends and your family, anyone who nods vigorously as you describe what your plans are. These people think it's a GREAT idea, but probably aren't rushing off to buy that better mousetrap.

Scott Adams recently wrote about the Artist's Secret - a foolproof way to be successful in cartooning. He summarized it as, "It's not a career until you learn to create products that normal people like." When the Marketing department is shaking with excitement about the newest (most hip, cool, it was on Boing Boing yesterday!) idea, you have to think to yourself - is this something normal people will like?

You can learn Social Media by reading expert's e-books or finding life lessons in 80s cult movies.
But it's going to come down to common sense at some point.

Marketing always boils down to three options; is this something normal people will like OR, if it isn't, are there enough non-normal people to make a go of it OR if there really is a small audience, is it worth it to you to pursue anyway, even though it will never be really profitable? If you can't answer "Yes" to at least one of those questions, it won't really matter what you're trying to do.

Everyone can be a Social Media Expert. Use Common Sense, Avoid Delusion, Be An Expert.
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