When I was a child I put a message into a bottle and threw it in the ocean. Then I wondered who would eventually get my message and would they in turn call me. Of course no one every did and my “message in the bottle” likely sank to the bottom getting nowhere and nobody’s attention.
We are seeing the same “childlike sophomoric mentality” from people “throwing messages into the space of social media” hoping to get a response. How many Twitter followers are pushing out spam messages about some new product or technology promising to do wonderful things for your business or some part of your body. This represents old messages in a new bottle but the bottle still “sinks” and/or breaks against the tides of conversations. The end result is the message reaches nobody and even if it does who really cares, no one!
Old Methods Same Message
I recently met a company that spends in excess of $10 millions a year on direct mail campaigns. They’ve used direct mail campaigns for years and believed it was effective. Effective was defined at producing a 1% response rate.
Now consider the waste of paper, the low response rates and the cost. The message of the direct mail campaigns were centric to promotions of retail sales and was aimed at “pulling traffic” and subsequent sales to their stores. Is there a better way with a higher response rate at less cost?
Old Message Different Bottle?
Consider Dell’s recent news about selling millions of dollars of computers and accessories primarily leveraging the power of Twitter. How much did it cost Dell? Did they waste money on print ads? Did they get good response?
The cost to Dell was time. They didn’t spend a dime on print ads. The responses totals over $3 million in new sales. The PC maker’s U.S. outlet store has been on Twitter since June 2007, posting specials and responding to customer questions. And according to the Direct2Dell blog, sales generated by those regular tweets have generated more than $3 million in sales.
Dell’s success lends credence to the argument that Twitter is much more than a wasteland of shallow, “What are you doing?” posts. It also may provide a much-needed business model for Twitter by giving the social networking site a valid reason to charge for corporate accounts.
Dell’s success proves that Twitter can be an effective marketing tool. Even better for Dell, its followers often re-tweet the vendor’s deals to their followers, thereby boosting the reach of Dell’s pitches.
Dell’s message was old but their methods were new. So old messages delivered in a “new bottle” do in fact get delivered and read. Now imagine creating a new message in a “new bottle”. Your new message should be a conversation. The new bottle is the delivery system of the social web. Make your conversation engaging and it will “float” from one to one to millions at less cost. Get it?
What say you?