An article appeared on Fox News on January 8 by Dr. Keith Ablow entitled ‘We are raising a generation of deluded narcissists’. In the article (and I am paraphrasing) he discusses how our young people delude themselves into believing they have hundreds or thousands of friends as the result of social networking. He talks about how they believe they can socially connect to famous movie stars or musicians they ‘like’. He also mentions how young people can pretend they are worth ‘following’ when in fact this is nothing more than a mutual exchange form of false fame. He goes on and on with it and makes a lot of good points. It resonated with me, as I see this everyday in regards to what I have come to term ‘delusional marketing’.
Call me old fashioned, but in my view, the goal of marketing is to produce sales. A ‘sale’ is what happens when money changes hands. It is the exchange of cash for a product or service.
I cannot tell you how many times I ask potential clients about their marketing plan and the answer is something like “I have X likes, X followers, I’m on Facebook and Twitter and . . . “
Of course I interrupt with “How many sales?” The answer is usually something like “Uh . . well . . . er . . .um . . .”
Again, maybe I am crazy, but in my view, success in marketing is determined by how many sales are made. Yeah, I know, that’s just nuts. But it goes really deep with me. I also believe:
A ‘like’ is not a sale. Frankly, if someone were to walk up to me in the real world and say ‘Please like me’, I would probably call security. A lot of people really do like me, but I never ask them to write it down and show others.
A ‘follower’ did not buy anything, though the follower might some day – assuming they don’t tire of following me first. But those followers who turn into actual buyers are generally a very small percentage of the total.
A social network is not an advertising medium. It is a social network. Most people go there to network, not to shop.
A social media post is not supposed to be an advertisement. If it sounds like an advertisement, I call it an advertisement and thus ignore it.
A website is not a brochure – it’s a store. It is designed to produce sales. A website is not a billboard – it’s a store. A website is not a resume either – it’s a store.
A website visitor is not yet a buyer – visitors are still in the exploratory phase. Though people must be visitors before they become buyers, often we forget to ask them to buy anything at all.
In my view, the real question is this: ‘What is the goal?’ If one hopes to be successful at social media marketing, the the goal must be marketing results – sales.
Yes, yes I know – I’ve heard all the ‘yeah buts’ in response to all of the above. But we cannot delude ourselves into thinking that social media ‘success’ is marketing. It’s a subset of marketing to be certain, but it’s not the game. It’s not what will produce hard results, sales or cash. If we believe the end goal of our marketing plan is to increase the number of likes or friends we’ve accumulated, we’ll be very popular and very broke. Social media networking and social media marketing are two very different things.
Some may disagree, but I am in marketing. I look at the actual return for the money or time invested. If I don’t see a monetary return on what I’m doing, I stop doing what I’m doing and try something else. That’s what marketing means to me. But hey, that’s just me . . .