Tuesday, November 4, 2008

OnlineSpin: Bleeding-Edge Marketing And Talking To Teens

Last week Joe wrote "The Importance Of Brand."

Forrest Wright wrote in response, "I agree that there will be plenty of brand casualties in the coming years, especially as consumers become less elastic in their spending.

But fear not, good brands. If you offer intrinsic value and are truly living your word, you should be able to weather this bubble.

If not, then heed the words of Zappos.com Chairman Alfred Lin:'Because of the internet, everything is so transparent these days. If youÂ're internally a different company, what you project externally is not going to work.'

Keep it real, marketers."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Bleeding-Edge Marketing And Talking To Teens
By Joe Marchese

Being on the bleeding edge is not easy -- not for a publisher, not for an agency and certainly not for a marketer. Talking to teens is also not easy. And in many ways the two difficulties compound each other. What I mean is that talking to teens can be difficult because they live on the bleeding edge, as far as marketers -- and probably parents -- are concerned. For marketers to reach teens effectively, they have to go out there on that edge and meet teens where they are living.

That edge today is social networks and social media. It's been said time and again that the "The medium is the message." And no media impacts a message like social media. Just think about how relevant that idea presented by Marshall McLuhan all those years ago has become today. But can something as massive as social media, representing nearly half of the Web by some estimations, really be bleeding-edge? It can if no one has figured it out.

This week I have to hit two speaking engagements. There's ad:tech on Wednesday to talk about "Bleeding Edge Marketing" -- and then the Ypulse Youth Marketing Conference on Friday in Boston, talking about "Reaching Teens on Social Networks."

I have found it interesting thinking about both subjects and how intertwined the issues are. But given the massive scale of consumers -- and teens in particular -- dedicated to social media, calling it a bleeding "edge" might not be right; it's more like a massive head wound. Cost are out of control for social media platforms, and marketers have yet to find repeatable, measurable and scalable solutions to reach their disappearing audiences. The answer, it seems, is figuring out how to reach teens in social networks -- because reaching teens in an appropriate manner can provide the blueprint to reach all audiences as social continues to grow. You need to be on the bleeding edge, but only for a short time. You very quickly want to make the bleeding stop and simply be on the leading edge.

Stopping the bleeding when marketing on the edge is getting people to want to hear and share your message. Stopping the bleeding when marketing on the edge is understanding and adapting to the shift in control. Stopping the bleeding when marketing on the edge is realizing that if you can talk to teens, given their social media consumption habits, you can talk to anyone. Sometimes stopping the bleeding means taking your medicine.

Joe Marchese is President of socialvibe.

Online Spin for Tuesday, November 4, 2008:

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