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Social marketing success lies in disciplined approach

Nigel Hollis

Chief Global Analyst

Social 29.12.2015 / 09:15

Social DNA structure full

Success lies in clearly identifying the campaign objective, finding a compelling idea and ensuring people get to see the campaign rather than relying on viral dissemination.

For some time now, I have been advocating that marketers need to approach social-led marketing campaigns with the same discipline as traditional ones. Success lies in clearly identifying the campaign objective, finding a compelling idea and ensuring people get to see the campaign rather than relying on viral dissemination. Warc's Seriously Social 2015 report comes to similar conclusions.

The Seriously Social 2015 report, written by Peter Field, is based on the 32 shortlisted entries for the Warc Prize for Social Strategy 2015, a global competition that rewards smart social and 'earned' media thinking that leads to business results. The data in the entries was supplemented with an in-depth survey of the case study authors.

Key Numbers

  • US$1.6 million social marketing campaign average budget, before
  • US$2.3 million social marketing campaign average budget, now

One of the main conclusions in the report is that the deck is increasingly stacked against low-budget, bottom-up, consumer-driven campaigns. Since 2014, the difficulty of achieving organic social reach has led to more brand-driven, top-down campaign entries with the average budget increasing from $1.6 to $2.3 million. It appears that marketers are finally realizing that social is not a silver bullet, you still need to spend more to achieve more.

The report confirms what we already know from conducting CrossMedia studies around the world. Socially-disseminated, word-of-mouth can be as powerful an influence on awareness as TV on a per exposure basis, and has more influence on purchase intent. However, the reach of word-of-mouth is often less than half that of TV. The Seriously Social report concludes, "whether high or low budget, the pattern of successful social strategy is to partner social media with traditional offline media - especially those that offer high visibility for the available budget."

Ultimately, however, the report focuses in on what lies at the heart of any successful marketing campaign, the power of creativity. The report finds that creativity is an essential driver of organic social reach as well as a facilitator of paid reach. As I noted in this post, social sets a higher standard for success because no one is going to share content that is boring or fails to spark people's imagination, even if they might watch it on TV.

Last but not least, the Seriously Social report confirms the need to focus your campaign against a specific task and understand what will motivate consumers in order to achieve success. The Chobani #PlainInspiring campaign in Australia focused on changing Australians' behavior by introducing yoghurt to usage occasions outside of breakfast, and was one of the few successful bottom-up campaigns. In spite of no above-the-line media support, by asking people to create, snap and share their creations the  #PlainInspiring campaign significantly increased the household penetration of Chobani 0% fat plain yogurt, and helped deliver a 270% return on investment.

The singular success of Chobani's campaign highlights the importance of founding your campaign on a real insight, not just trusting it to luck. In that case, social listening and focus groups helped confirm who to target and how, but consumer insight should inform every stage in the process by identifying the growth opportunity, the means to achieve that goal, a big, creative idea and the best channel to get the word out.

Source: Kantar Millward Brown

Editor's notes

* The article was initially published on Millward Brown's blog. Click here to read the orignial post.

* To reach the author, or to know more information, data and analysis of social media marketing, please contact us.

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