Friday, February 9, 2007

Smart Marketing = The "Some" And Its Parts

To Get To The Many, Influence Some

By David Miranda

For years marketing has embraced the power of mass marketing - one to many - the shotgun approach. It is indeed powerful, cost-efficient, but difficult to measure at the cash register. Mass marketing media vehicles like the major networks, terrestial radio, major newspapers, and national magazines have seen audiences erode over the years as the media landscape has exploded with many and varied media choices. The Internet, cable, mobile, satellite radio, DVR's, iPod's, and video games have enabled consumers to personalize their own media consumption - what they want, when they want, where they want. Mass marketing also assumes some level of audience homogenity in the marketplace.

Marketers also added one-to-one marketing to the mix, e.g. direct mail or search marketing using sophisticated mining techniques to identify desired consumers and communicate with them via direct mail or the internet. The reasoning is less waste, customized solicitations, and more measurable results albeit more expensive and like mass marketing, considerable waste.

But neither mass marketing nor 1 to 1 really addresses the changes we are seeing in the American marketplace. The old demographics don't work anymore, and, therefore, marketing targeted at consumers needs to adjust accordingly.

Here are some recently reported stats:
  • For the first time ever, there was a higher percentage of unmarried couples than married leading our nation's 111.1 million households [50.3 vs. 49.7]

  • In 2005, the nation's minority population totaled 98 million, or 33 percent, of the country's total population

  • There are over 150 million women online and they are now outpacing men in terms of internet, email and computer usage.

Just looking at individuals (1 to 1) or the mass market would miss what these stats are revealing. Households are dominated by unmarried couples. A third of the population are minorities and women outpace their male counterparts as internet, email, and computer users. Knowing this would a marketer approve an advertising campaign that portrayed the average American family as a Causcasian male and female with the husband hunched over the computer? Diversity can only be successfully marketed to if marketers understand the consumer mosaic that now exists in the marketplace.

Marketing now is understanding the need to embrace O2S2M or One 2 Some 2 Many. In other words, it is the Some that influences the Many in the marketplace. It's the "Mikey likes it" phenomenon except on steriods. The Some are the Influentials, those individuals who in their own business and social networking groups deem something good, bad, or indifferently. They represent the key drivers of word-of-mouth - the holy grail of marketing. In this age of networked communication via the Internet (email, blogs, chat rooms, social networking sites) and, most recently, the mobile channel, they wield even greater power in their speed and ability to virally influence their peers.

It is imperative for marketers to seek out, identify and court these opinion leaders. They have the ability to make or break any marketing initiative.

You don't have to go big to get big in this new marketplace. You have to woo "Some".