While many have hailed the Internet and marketing in this media as the great leveler, they were deeply misinformed. Market leaders and strong brands have advantages in business and in all kinds of marketing and in online marketing no less so.
Strong brands don't have to explain or introduce themselves - at least not to as many people. They can make use of carefully crafted shortcuts and can spend their budget on other objectives because they already have awareness. Their budget may also go farther because their cost per sale and cost per acquisition are often less than weaker or less well-known brands. They might have healthy email lists of customers and other ways to remind consumers to continue to purchase frequently because consumers are more likely to consent to remarketing options with strong brands. Strong brands enjoy that advantage because they have built a foundation with a usually costly and long-term investment in the brand. In the voice of a famous ad campaign that many of our younger readers might not recognize - they did it the old fashioned way: they eaaarrned it.
The value of brand in social media is no less important. While any business can work on engaging audiences through social channels, it is the strongest brands that have built the strongest communities to date. Smaller brands can and have won by proving that they understand the channel and their audience needs, but the strategies for a well-known, well-understood, and well-liked brand should differ from a newly-launched, lesser-known, or reputation-challenged brand.
Bottom line across all media: better or positive brand awareness equals a lower cost of acquisition, which means that for lesser-known brands, you should be prepared for a larger investment of both time and money to get the results that you are looking for in both paid and earned social media channels.
Good suggestions for all brands but critical for smaller brands:
Invest Your Time
Invest Your Money
The consumer education and communication that creates a strong brand may be costly but it is also very valuable. Time, money, and resources are the currency that both help compensate for a lack of brand strength and at the same time build the brand if done well. If you have the advantage of a great brand, don't squander it with lazy marketing or bad content in social channels. If you are working with a new launch, a smaller brand, or one with a challenge to overcome, you can carefully craft your approach to maximize the impact of the resources that you do have.
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Robin is the CEO and cofounder of NetPlus Marketing Inc., a top 50 interactive agency established in 1996 to focus exclusively on online marketing and advertising best practices. Robin brings innovative strategy and a depth and breadth of marketing experience to the agency's practice and management. As one of the industry's pioneers, she is a driving force behind NetPlus Marketing's ongoing success with a diverse and discerning client base that considers online results critical to their business success.
Robin is a frequent speaker at national industry events, including ClickZ, internet.com, OMMA, Ad:Tech, SES, Online Marketing Summit, and Thunder Lizard conferences and is a sought-after resource for industry and business publications for her insight and advice on such topics as digital strategy, social media marketing, and behavioral targeting.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT