John Hagel, using the term Collaboration Marketing, explains the most important principles behind a successful social media marketing solution. The following is an excerpt from his full blog post: Restoring the Power of Brands. This is written in 2005, but applies now more so than ever, as businesses flock to social media without a clear understanding of the important principles that allow marketers to harness social media effectively.
“In essence, collaboration marketing focuses on attracting customers rather than intercepting them with traditional advertising. It attracts customers by becoming more and more helpful to them, both in terms of evaluating potential new products and services and getting more value from products and services once they have been purchased. In part, collaboration marketing programs seek to become more helpful by mobilizing a broad range of relevant, specialized third parties to add value to the customer relationship. Collaboration marketing challenges the current mantra of “one to one marketing” and instead views the opportunity as “many to one”, connecting each customer with as many entities (including other customers) as may be required to maximize value for the customer. Collaboration marketing represents a “pull” approach where the marketer becomes so helpful to customers that they seek the marketer out, rather than a conventional “push” approach blasting marketing messages out in an effort to find customers that might be receptive to the marketer’s offering.
Rather than “owning the customer”, collaboration marketing strives to give each customer the perception that they own the vendor. To do this well, companies will also need to master the skills required to capture and analyze detailed information about individual customers. By serving as the orchestrator, helping to connect customers with other entities, collaboration marketers develop richer profiles of customers and their needs and they learn much more deeply and rapidly about their customers than traditional marketers who focus on narrow “one to one” relationships. The good news is that powerful new platforms and tools, ranging from the Internet to Web services technology and powerful analytic tools, are becoming available to help vendors implement these new marketing programs and deliver on this new brand promise.” (http://www.johnhagel.com/view20050612.shtml)