This month's Harvard Business Review blasts "Social Media and the New Rules of Branding" in that corny laundry detergent typeface that folks use to connote, well, branding. David Edelman from McKinsey writes an anchor article in the issue. Clearly, we are starting to see the depth of McKinsey's interest in social media between this, their June 2009 research paper on how companies were benefitting from Web 2.0, and last months presentation from McKinsey at our WOMMA Summit. They clearly believe that social media has a significant business impact and are gearing up to counsel clients accordingly.
Trick is that so much of social media strategy is informed by execution. It is near impossible to simply deliver strategy without the capacity to execute, refine strategy and iterate. But that doesn't mean that McKinsey has it wrong. In fact, the HBR article has a lot right.
The Consumer Decision Journey
David and his colleagues challenge the traditional one-dimensional read on the sales funnel. (i.e. where you see the funnel as a linear progression from awareness to conversion and loyalty. They offer their own view which they argue reflects consumers real experience. They have their Consumer Decision Journey while we at Ogilvy have Customer Journeys. Both are doing the same thing - paying attention to the influences on purchase behavior and, increasingly, advocacy. Their model breaks the consumer experience into 4 stages:
- Enjoy, Advocate, Bond
They argue that marketers should not waste energy (and money) by allocating spending across media. Rather they should focus on stages in the decision journey - those stages where they can have the best impact.According to David, their research reveals that 70-90% of spend goes to advertising and retail promotions to reach consumers at "Consider " and "Buy." Consumers can best be influenced at the Evaluate or Enjoy, Advocate, Bond stages. The power of word of mouth or advocacy in this "influence" is large:
"In many categories the single most powerful impetus to buy is someone else's advocacy. Yet many marketers focus on media spend (principally advertising) rather than on driving advocacy"
Imagine what might happen if the largest part of an integrated marcom plan was geared to drive and amplify advocacy...