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Facebook: Log In or Out?

July 16th, 2010 by Devangshu Dutta

Retailwire raised a pertinent question recently about social media and marketing. In marketing as in life, it is all about timing. The question was whether retailers and brands should be concerned that they are moving to Facebook at a time when large numbers of teenagers are abandoning it? 

I believe it’s horses for courses. Marketers of teen brands should definitely be concerned about teens exiting or reducing their usage of Facebook, as they have done with other social platforms in the past. However, there are plenty of others for whom the Facebook audience is apparently becoming more relevant than ever. Facebook reports 400+ million users as of February. According to them, 50% of the active users login on any given day. That’s impressive stickiness.

Having said that, I’d like also to take a different look at those stats. Demographics and physically addressable market aside, the question is what proportion of your potential customers are receptive to the brand in that environment.

At the moment, Facebook is not a medium amenable to classic interruption marketing. (Although it may become that in the future, just like Youtube, with Google ads popping up across the bottom of the video.)

Neither is the Facebook user’s primary purpose brand loyalty or looking at marketing messages. The average Facebook user has enough to keep him/her busy or distracted, without getting on to a brand’s page. That video of a mother with laughing quadruplets is far more likely to get viewed and shared than any of your marketing messages.

If your brand isn’t interesting, engaging, and open, you can’t have the conversations that a platform like Facebook facilitates. If there’s no on-going conversation, your chief Facebook officer is wasting the company’s time, money and internet bandwidth. Logout. Now.

The entire discussion on Retailwire is here: ”Marketers Move to Facebook As Teens Move Away“ (needs a free sign-up).

Posted in Apparel, Branding, Consumer, Customer Relationship, e-commerce, Entrepreneurship, Food & Grocery, Footwear, India, Leadership, Lifestyle & Fashion, Market Research, Marketing, Retail, Soft Goods, Strategy, Textiles, Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Responses

  1. Alagu Balaraman Says:

    This is a very valid point, Devangshu. The fact that people are present at a location is no guarantee that they are receptive to receive a message.

    A personal example brought this home to me just two days ago: I was participating in a survey conducted on behalf of a financial services firm. One of the questions asked me to list out the names of firms that I had seen in _any_ form of media in the recent past. I was hard put to recall even one. The ones I did recall were services I used and, on reflection, I could recall when I last saw their ad. Interestingly, I could not recall even _one_ ad from the Web – where I spend much more time than on TV or with magazines.

    Now, I might have a much flakier memory than most, but I believe that there is something there. Its like saying that just because every car driver looks at the windshield and we should scroll messages across the bottom of the glass.

    I hope that doesn’t become a marketing idea :-)

  2. Subir Ghosh Says:

    Alagu: I can be receptive only if I see the message. Personally, I “block” out anything that I don’t want to see. The company would see it as marketing, and I might see it as spamming. One needs to tread a very thin line there. There’s every chance that a marketing campaign might backfire on a social network.

  3. pradnya Says:

    ít so complicated

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