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Viral, Online Video, Social Media... It's All About Selling Stuff

Our agency gets calls all the time from people looking for a wide variety of things, including viral marketing, online video content, social media, and even bulk quantities of sodium bisulfate -- since, we've been told, we are also listed in the Yellow Pages as a chemical company. We get a lot of calls for some guy named Sarkesian too, so hopefully someday he'll check in to see if he has any messages.

Of all the calls I've taken, not a a single person has led off with "I need you to help me sell more [insert product or service]." The reason that's strange, I think, is that every brand, product, service and business wants and needs the same thing: to sell more stuff.  

Re-educating Educated Clients

Some say that "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing," and this can be the case with online video and social media marketing. Often, brand managers, product managers, entrepreneurs and marketing executives have already made up their minds about what they do and don't need -- without always factoring in the bigger picture of how video, social network interaction, blog and publication outreach, TV, PR, radio, outdoor and mobile can all work together to help them hit their sales goals. They just want, for example, a funny video. So then the next question is:  

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ME:  Why do you want a funny video?
CALLER: To get lots of views on it and make it go viral.
ME: Do you have a plan for getting lots of views on it and making it go viral?
CALLER: Yes, we're going to put it on YouTube and Facebook, and we're going to tweet about it.
ME: Do you have a viral marketing strategy and a call to action?
CALLER: Not yet. We want to get the video out there first and create a buzz.
ME: Why do you want to create a buzz?
CALLER: To let people know about us!
ME: Why do you want to... OK, look... what's your end game... the bottom line, the final stage. After all is said and done and the campaign is over and everyone has gone home, what are you trying to do?
CALLER: Oh, we want to sell more stuff.
ME: Step into my office.  

Hyper Focusing

What I see happening is that people in charge of marketing campaigns learn about a successful viral video or social media campaign, or diligently follow trends in online marketing, but pick out only one aspect of a campaign on which to focus... like a video. Then they hang all of their hopes and expectations on that video and convince themselves that getting 1 million views is the goal. It isn't. Selling more stuff is the goal, and that takes an integrated social media marketing approach.  

Glitz & Glamour

We all -- clients, agencies, marketers, everyone -- get lost from time to time in the excitement of video and social media, the thrill of launching a campaign, the intense interaction, the real-time feedback, the fear of failure, the rush of success. We celebrate the little victories along the way and can quickly lose sight of the bigger picture, which is to sell stuff.  

Shiny Things Are Cool

Getting lost in all of the options available, and picking this new thing or that new thing to invest all of our efforts in, we tend to forget that above and beyond everything, video and social media are tools in a marketer's toolbox, and like any good craftsman, success depends on how we use the tools and marketing know-how we have... to sell more stuff.

1 comment about "Viral, Online Video, Social Media... It's All About Selling Stuff".
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  1. David Murdico from Supercool Creative, April 6, 2011 at 2:13 a.m.

    Paula, some of them!

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