The Disconnect

Digital and direct marketing maven Heidi Cohen thinks that, on social media, consumers are from Venus and marketers are from Mars. In other words, there’s a big disconnect between what consumers want and what marketers think they want. The proof:

  • Recent IBM research shows a wide chasm between marketers’ assumptions about what consumers want and consumers’ real reasons for engaging with brands on social media. As the chart above shows, discounts and purchase top the list for consumers – and yet these two items are at the bottom of marketers’ lists.
  • Yahoo and DDBO research shows a consistent pattern of marketer-consumer disconnect. Here, marketers correctly placed price, product attributes and proof points at the top of the list, but they failed in consistently underestimating consumer preferences. 

Counter Intuitive Findings

Marketers should be careful about making hasty assumptions with Social Media. For instance:

  • Performics-ROI Research shows that in social shopping activities, men are more active than women on five out of six attributes.
  • However, both place money at the top of their list: deals, coupons and specials. 
  • Nielsen data, shows that one out three consumers “likes” a brand or celebrity – not simply because they like them – but to get a discount or special offer.  In North America, this increases to almost 50% of customers. 

Do Consumers Only “Like” You For Your Money?

Exact Target research shows that a good proportion of consumers only “like” you on social media for the money. Roughly one out of four respondents either “liked” the brand temporarily for a one-time discount or didn’t get a sufficient discount to please them.


5 Ways To Give Consumers What They Want

Ms. Cohen offers five suggestions to help marketers maximize social media opportunities with consumers.

  1. Use discounts, specials and coupons to attract prospects on social media platforms.
  2. Use social media to better understand what motivates your customers.
  3. Know what competitors are doing because your customers will check it out while they’re in your store.
  4. Price social media promotions and discounts to at least break-even rather than expect repeat sales.
  5. Provide post-purchase content to give customers additional reasons to engage with you and extend their product experience or related offers.

It’s The Money, Stupid!

The research so far points out that it’s still all about the money when it comes to social media shopping. So give them the discounts and coupons and find other ways to keep your prospects engaged and do the math to ensure that you at least break-even on any promotions you offer via social media platforms.

Snap! principle of Social Media Marketing Disconnect:
Whether you’re just building a buzz or looking for
a transaction, adopt the appropriate strategies.


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