Most advertising people understand that there's nothing more powerful than a personal recommendation. It can be more powerful than almost any advertising ever created, which is why the Internet and social media are so important in any marketing plan.
Here's the rub. Too much advertising can actually hurt word-of-mouth. If all the information about a product is everywhere in public, what's the sense of talking about it online?
What's a marketer to do? Take another approach to social marketing, perhaps. Instead of trying to use it to promote your product, be useful on social media. Create relationships. Use your expertise to try to be helpful to online groups. Find out what their members are interested in and be relevant. Empathize with their concerns and stresses. Give them new ideas, tips, and suggestions that have been proven.
Above all, don't be intrusive. Forget about being that polished salesperson and start being a friend.
According to findings I ran across from Forrester Research:
- Most consumers agree there are too many ads today.
- Most wish they got less direct mail.
- Most emails are considered unwanted.
The use of Tivo, spam blockers, do-not-call lists, and the rest attest to how too much advertising is getting to people. (Probably too much bad advertising.)
We have to remember, though, that this is about advertising in general. Nobody has ever complained about getting too much guidance, empathy, or support.
Leo Burnett, the founder of the huge Chicago ad agency, used to say that the job of copywriters and art directors is to make it easier for a person to read an ad than to turn the page. In other words, make it so interesting you actually start reading it.
This is where too much traditional advertising is failing. And where Social media is succeeding. Can't we do as well in making ads?