Megan McQ’s Musings

Archive for the ‘IMC’ Category

juggling

The other day I met with Lou, President of ValueStar, a customer ratings and reviews service from confirmed customers. (Disclosure: personal acquaintance).

The directory service provides companies (such as Company XYZ) the opportunity to have Company XYZ’s previous customers rate their experience on ValueStar’s Web site. This service varies from other social network rating systems, because it ensures that actual customers of Company XYZ are rating the company. Of course, it’s up to Company XYZ to complete quality work to obtain good reviews, and not all of the reviews on the site are positive.

Lou and I were discussing social media and it was enlightening to discuss the marketing element of a directory service, due to the variety of constituencies such service like ValueStar has to reach.

On the one hand, ValueStar has to draw customers to their web site and ask them to review a company with whom they have had an interaction, and use the companies listed on the Web site. On the other, the company has to obtain companies seeking the marketing opportunity ValueStar has to offer.

The problem arises where Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) strategy is concerned: How does one company diversify their message to such different constituencies? It would seem an IMC campaign that unifies messages across platforms would leave something to be desired for each constituency ValueStar is trying to reach. Juggling the communication needs of either constituency would be dangerous.

Because I’m an advocate of using the same communication messages across platforms, here’s my take on the situation:

Everyone is a customer of some sort. At some given time, we’ve all been the purchaser in a transaction. In my opinion, then, I think that ValueStar should focus its marketing efforts to the customers of the “Company XYZ’s” on the Web site. Utilizing a SM strategy that fosters genuine human interaction, ValueStar could cultivate relationships with this constituency and encourage them to become reviewers and users of other companies listed on the site. (Insert the 80/20 rule here). This communication strategy would inevitably include company owners and marketers who will see the value in the site, and want to become certified and listed on the directory.

A social media campaign would then be able to identify the business owners among the primary communication target. A specific, tailored message could be constructed for these new constituencies. Due to the highly-specific nature of these messages, they should resonate with the constituencies–eliminating the need for message repetition. After all, that’s the whole purpose of social media: building meaningful relationships with potential customers, and reach those customers with valuable messages.

But that’s my take, anyway. I’m curious to hear your input on this type of communication campaign.

photo via Mark Pummell