By B.L. Ochman
While there is a huge shortage of social media strategy, most of the huge amounts of money being spent produces an ROI of zero.
I’d like to do my part to help a few companies avoid spending a huge amount of money for nothing in return. Let’s KISS.
That stands for “Keep it Strategic Silly” and if you can just step out of the social media echo chamber long enough to read this post, you’ll thank me later. I’ll keep it short.
It’s raining tactics in social media marketing. Agencies and social media gurus are falling over themselves to implement the latest tactics, use the shiny new tools, and send big bills for their on-the-job-learning. The missing link, however, is strategy.
What’s the difference between strategy and tactics?
Let’s look at Google as an example:
Google’s strategy is to provide free services that are so valuable users become dependent on them, driving drive enough traffic to the services to generate ROI for advertisers and revenue for Google.
• feature-rich Gmail with enormous storage capacity;
• Google Docs & other programs that are better, or at least as good as Microsoft’s paid software;
• Google Earth; Google maps
• free Blogger.com software, Google Chrome (which looks like it will be a great browser)
• Google Wave – which looks like it’ll revolutionize our online workspace
• the best search on the planet, & much more – all free.
Let’s look at KFC:
• Introduce grilled chicken to the menu
• Call the campaign Unthink
• Hook up with Oprah to offer coupons for free grilled chicken to everyone on the planet.
• Wring hands and say OMG OMG when everyone in America showed up and there wasn’t enough chicken
• Run YouTube video contest for people to say how much they love KFC, get 4 entries in a month
• Expand contest to MySpace page
• Keep asking people to tell them what is so great about KFC
• Run print ads about the contests
• Be on Twitter. And Facebook.
• Give away a life-time supply of chicken
I’m sure i’ve missed a few of the KFC tactics, but so what. Just remember, they called the campaign Unthink.
They’ve thrown a whole bunch of tactics in the chicken bucket, but the strategy is still “Tell us why you think we’re wonderful” and that’s not what social media is about. Social media is about actually being wonderful. That would have started by having a strategy for the Oprah give-a-way.
How will you KISS?
How will you incorporate the tools of social media into your marketing strategy?
What tools will you employ? Blogging? Micro-blogging? Video? Podcasting? Social networks? Forums? Wikis? Which ones will help you connect members of your audience? How will one tactic be used to drive traffic to other parts of your campaign? Which combination of tools can be integrated into your marketing to help drive your sales?
Don’t hit people over the head with a sales message. Remember: we’re all humans. People are what matters, not companies.
And don’t forget to KISS.
– Mashable – KFC’s MySpace Strategy: a Lifetime Supply of Chicken
– What’s Next Blog: Marketers Need to KISS: Keep It Strategic Silly!
My take on KFC is a bit different. First, a small quibble on your definitions.
The “goal” was to a introduce grilled chicken offering to the menu. Generate awareness. This isn’t a strategy.
The strategy is to get people to think differently about KFC by letting people taste and talk about the new grilled items.
And create as much buzz as possible. That’s where they ran into trouble…with the tactics.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see a big dumb traditional agency screw up a promotion with Oprah, but Draft’s heritage is promotions. They should have known better.
Also, the campaign is a typical fire-all-barrels smorgasbord of tactics. The video contest in particular is interesting. Anyone who has any experience doing Internet promotions would know the odds of getting much participation in a video contest, for the chance to win $13,000 worth of chicken wouldn’t get many entries. Contests are work.
And you’re right, in 2009 it’s presumptuous to ask consumers how much they like you.
The other key difference is that Google’s tactics are long-term and KFC’s are short-term campaigns.
Long-term requires commitment and effort which is valued by customers and ultimately generates the trust and loyalty every brand craves.
This is excellent advice.
“If you don’t have a goal how can you score?”
always wanting to kiss babies on the cheek, or squeeze… ok with friends and family kissing my baby on the cheek.
Like the contrast you presented between Google and KFC. My impression is this:
Google – its about YOU the consumer. How can we help make something in your day to day life better? How can we do that using the available social media tools?
KFC – How can we get consumers to think about US and why we’re great. How can we use the social media tools to convince people day and night they need to like us and buy our product?
The promise of social is in the former – brands figuring out how to solve problems and add value in the consumers’ daily lives – not how to scream more for their attention.
I’d like to bring up something that is not listed on here, and that’s the importance of having good site and social media analytics. Knowing what conversations people are having before you build your campaign, and what sort of traffic your site (or business) is getting, is an important first step in the strategy process. Then, after the campaign is launched, constant analysis should be taking place, allowing for any adjustments that might be needed.
I think having a social media plan is necessary, however, businesses shouldn’t abandon traditional marketing plans. I think a great marketing plan will combine social media, traditional advertising, and other tactics like trade shows to continue a face to face style of marketing.
is it me or does this take a rather long and winding path to answer the initial question posed.. ‘what is the difference between strategy and tactics?’
The best, clear and concise ( and simplified ) explanation i have heard used skiing as the example..
Your Goal: Become a better Skier.
Your Strategy: Figuring out what is the right mountain for you to be on?
Your Tactics: Practice taking turns over and over again.