In a recent article for the Harvard Business Review, Bill Lee makes the claim that traditional marketing is dead. It’s quite a proclamation, and he backs it up with several studies that confirm things like the relative lack of influence traditional marketing has on buyers’ decisions, as well as the apparent disillusionment of many CEOs with traditional marketing spending versus sales results. We still think traditional marketing has its place, but tight integration with newer, more social marketing tactics is definitely the future.
Lee posits that what may be creeping in to replace traditional marketing is a return to what he calls “community marketing”—companies empowering brand advocates to promote the product using social channels. For consumers, this “approximate[s] the experience of buying in their local, physical communities,” by applying the trust inherent in social networks to buying decisions. Community marketing is good for brands, because it makes the search for influencers easier. What better place to look for people to promote and advocate for your product than among people who already use and like the product?
Lee also argues that in exchange for helping promote the brand, consumers should be rewarded not with cash prizes or other similar incentives, but with social capital. By allowing brand enthusiasts to build trust and authority within their social network through promoting the brand, companies appeal to our desire to belong to a community and be recognized in that community.
Although he doesn’t know it, Lee is describing all the best things about photo response marketing. User-generated content is the most authentic and compelling form of content. Photos, too, are especially attractive and appeal to our universal human desire for authenticity and self-expression. Pongr’s platform lets brands empower their customers to create compelling original content to express their relationship with the brand. Our one-click sharing capabilities give users the opportunity to spread their content throughout their social networks, helping their influence to reach places traditional marketing never could.
Even if, like us, you believe traditional marketing still has a place, there’s no denying that integrating traditional with social marketing has become an essential part of running a business. Investing in new media marketing strategies is no longer a choice—it’s a requirement. According to a recent survey by Empathica, 62% of consumers feel brands are not participating sufficiently in online conversations. It’s time for brands to give consumers what they want and take advantage of the power of community marketing by enabling brand enthusiasts to promote the brand through social photos.