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So we try to give our guests at the zoo a great experience. Because if they’re talking negatively, it’s a terrible thing. But if they’re being positive about that great experience they had at the zoo, no amount of marketing or advertising money is going to be stronger than that.
Do you monitor Trip Advisor-type places?
PARKIN: We do monitor Trip Advisor. Absolutely. And I have someone on my staff whose sole responsibility is to monitor social media.
Everybody is out there talking about their experience at the zoo and sharing photos and such. And there’s no way we can get our arms around all of that. I can only control what I can control with my messaging. That’s a scary thing in this day and age, knowing there’s so many people out there talking about your brand and, in a lot of ways, you can’t control them.
JONES: The most exciting thing for us right now is mobile and the technology implementation of mobile. There’s a lot of utilities out there, tools that don’t do what they say they will do. We’ve really spent a lot of time focusing on how you deliver solid, sensible apps and, for us, where they fit in the B-to-B realm. So sales enablement has been the primary focus for us.
KEMPEMA: I view the two-way communications that social media enables as extremely positive for marketing in general. One of the things that we, as marketers, have always done is push that single-minded message—pushing, pushing, pushing. As marketers we can no longer look at that as imposing ourselves. We need to create a community of support.
In terms of the authentic value of the brand—the quality of the brand that people don’t necessarily see in terms of the product or service capability—social media’s provided an avenue for different aspects of the brand that would never have manifested in a single piece of communication, like an advertisement. So social media’s opened up a great opportunity for us as marketers to expose more weapons around the brand.
THOMAS: Also it’s created some challenges from a public relations perspective. With two-way communi-cation, the way in which you respond to a crisis has changed significantly. Crises themselves are arising through social media channels that never would have happened in the past. Responding to media that are going to be on at 5 and 10, and the newspaper published the next morning, or even things online an hour or two away—that’s not fast enough anymore, because people are already responding to whatever issue that is. It may be brand related. It may be corporate related. Whatever it might be, people are responding to it instantaneously. So you’re not only responding through the traditional channels, but immediately through social media.
Let’s go back and talk about traditional media. How have traditional media changed? Are they still relevant? How are you using the various media to cut through the clutter and get your message across?
BLACK: With all the opportunities that touch our clients in business, it’s important to understand which demographic is going to use those types of media. Traditional media are still very much viable. So it’s important to understand who is reading that and who is participating in that.
For example, dwindling are the days of having calls to action that are meaningful through traditional media. It’s more brand awareness and building brand equity. If you look specifically outdoor, most of the outdoor campaigns are usually related to brand equity and brand awareness and employment. But specific call-to-action types of media are more on your social side of things—your mobile and your web.
Vivint is a direct-sales company, and you have used digital to support that. And now you’re launching a nationwide campaign.
KNIGHT: Right. We actually use traditional media in our call to action. We have used direct-response TV extremely effectively.
For us, the social media channel is not great from a call-to-action perspective, from a sales perspective, from a direct-revenue perspective. Social media has been great for us from a brand-awareness standpoint, from a standpoint of customer communication and customer service. It’s been great for our philanthropic efforts. But it’s been awful for us from a direct-response perspective.
It’s finding the right mix. You have to try different things. We tried direct response on social media and it failed. And that’s OK. The beauty of marketing is you have a hypothesis, you put it out there, you fail fast, and hopefully quietly, and then you try something else.
Vivint is the second-largest security company in North America and the third-largest in the world, and most people have never heard of us. We’re the second-largest residential solar provider, and again most people don’t know that. So we are looking to engage in more of a broad awareness campaign where traditional media is going to be huge for reaching much bigger audiences than we’ve been able to reach.