Thursday, October 21, 2010

Social Rage - Part 3 - The Final Line

Social Media gone Viral (image: onlinemarketingbite)
After a few weeks of digressing from the point, its time to close this chapter and officially publish my latest thoughts into the abyss of the internet. In Social Rage Part 1 and Social Rage Part 2, I covered the phenomenon that is Social Media. In this I would like to introduce a recently established form of marketing known as TTL and then my own concoction that is OTL (if it hasn’t been published elsewhere already).

We've touched on various features of marketing and the whole fuss that is social media. With this has brought about the birth of a new form of marketing which uses blogging (traditional and micro) as a core feature. We call it Digital Marketing and this includes everything from online campaigns to social media marketing and viral content (or digital wildfire as I like to call it) to help fuse everything together.

Your complete array of marketing techniques converged into simple lingo are:

ATL - Above the line: Includes TV, Print, etc. Techniques that don’t require direct contact with consumers
BTL - Below the line: Includes activations & events - direct contact with the target audience on the ground, engaging real people in real ways (great bottom line conversion for companies active with social media)
TTL - Through the line: Recently used in the Middle East by Sharp, an amalgamation of ATL and BTL without the big spend of the former, but a more concerted use of the latter.
OTL - On the line / or Online: The convergence of all online mediums combined with BTL activities to tie it all together. More of a fusion between TTL and BTL really because of its ability to directly target a specific audience and engage them at the same time.

We keep talking about 'the line' but where is this line? Is it up, is it down, left or right? It seems to bring us to the same logic that our good friend and very well-known comedian, Jerry Seinfeld who once asked a very important question: "What's the deal with corn nuts!? Is it a corn or is it a nut?" It’s not really the question that we’re focusing on, rather it’s the action or outcome & use of such a technique. Maybe stepping back and looking at the question of which is which and why it is the way it is.

No one really had the answer to that one, not one that stuck the way the question did. But the point is that with all the lingo flying everywhere, how is it that we gauge the importance of communication over different mediums without actually breaking them down into minute details to look at the core ingredients and work backward by rebuilding them.

Maybe OTL marketing is the line we have been talking about because it does incorporate features of both ATL and BTL, but with the best of both and the worst of none. It's low cost, direct targeting, efficient with amazing metrics available for campaign and activity tracking.

With the various techniques, we are better equipped to become more specific with our communication so that the right message is delivered to the right consumer at the right time. You get these three ‘r’s’ down, you got yourself an effective communication. Albeit, marketing isn’t always this cut and dry, there are the fundamentals that are always required in order to make sure any risk you might take on is mitigated with a core strategy in place.

With social media, anyone can be a marketing specialist. This is an evolution of how blogging allowed just about anyone to become a published author, a citizen journalist and essentially the most effective means of creating chatter about any topic of interest in a shorter span of time. With the mass of communication available and tools such as Facebook, twitter, foursquare, YouTube et al gaining popularity with higher adoption rates on a daily basis, the convergence of social media seems to be the next, most logical step of this evolutionary phenomenon.

The question I want to leave you all with is, should we revisit our use of the various techniques and begin to explore a process of re-prioritizing them on an academic level so as to infuse the newer techniques to the future generations of marketeers? And what role do PR (or PR 2.0) professionals play in the progression of these changes?

Bon Appétit

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