Somebody That I Used To Know

“Now and then I think of when we were together
Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
Told myself that you were right for me
But felt so lonely in your company
But that was love and it's an ache I still remember” – Gotye

Lately I’ve been hearing Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” a lot, in fact a bit too much.  So, it’s not too surprising that Gotye’s song got me thinking about brands, marketing and consumers. After all, understanding consumer relationships is key to successful marketing. And perhaps we can learn a bit from Gotye’s lyrics.

IBM recently published findings from over 1,700 CMO interviews as part of its Global Chief Marketing Study, “From Stretched to Strengthened.” If you haven’t read it, you should because I bet your boss or client sure has. 

Eighty-three percent of CMOs said that thing most critical to accomplishing their strategic priorities is “getting closer to customers.”  That’s a pretty staggering number, especially given that 68% of surveyed CMOs said they are underprepared to manage the impact of key changes in the marketing arena, specifically social media. 



I know this column is about “Marketing:Entertainment” but, in my opinion, brands engaging entertainment marketing are relying on social media to help spread the word and create and brands that are successful are finding ways to continually entertain and foster an ongoing “consumer relationship.” 

Coke, Pepsi, McDonald’s Budweiser, Frito-Lay and many other brands are well known for doing great entertainment marketing. In fact, those brands have set an expectation with consumers for great entertainment-themed experiences. Coke recently noted that its “Polar Bowl” engaged over nine million people.  While the “Polar Bowl” took place during the Super-Bowl, the vast majority of the engagement happened on line. 

McDonald’s famously had a public casting, “American Idol”-style, for “real” consumers to be featured on packaging. These brands set a gold standard for doing entertainment marketing right and social media is playing a key role in keeping the dialog fresh and relevant in that brand:consumer relationship.

And then there are great brands that just don’t understand that great entertainment marketing requires an ongoing dialog for the relationship to remain strong.  For example, GoDaddy comes to mind.  It relies on its annual salacious, tempting ads to engage with consumers. It may have been fun the first time, but that trick gets old quickly, and if that is the crux of your relationship with little engagement the remainder of the year, there is no basis for a relationship. 

If your consumer relationship doesn’t have an ongoing dialog, or positive expectation, you should expect consumers to feel like the line in Gotye’s song says “felt so lonely in your company”. 

Think about what you can do as a marketer/brand or agency partner to leverage social media to create an engaging ongoing dialog and get closer to the consumer and solve a problem that is keeping a lot of CMOs up at night.

1 comment about "Somebody That I Used To Know ".
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  1. Walter Sabo from SABO media, May 10, 2012 at 1:47 p.m.

    Doug you are absolutely right. Note that Budweiser also spent over $20M on Bud.TV and it was a disaster. The other promotions you mentioned such as the McDonald's casting were all created and perfected by top-40 radio. No medium has mastered on going marketing relationships with their audience as consistently and powerfully as top-40 radio. The REASON ALL brands are inconsistent in the consumer relationship is that ad agencies are still tied to "campaigns" and "spots." They think in beginning, middle and end tied to how much money they can spend and how fast can they spend it. (The longer the spend, the less profitable for the agency.)

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