Should you be marketing your product or your social purpose?

Do you have trouble seeing why you should be using social media marketing? If so, maybe you are marketing a product that just isn’t very engaging. Social media marketing might still be a good solution for you.

Last week, I participated in an IAA workshop on Social Media Marketing with speaker Mike Moran. There were many great tips for people working with social media marketing, but especially one point took my interest and that was deciding whether to market your product or your “social purpose” on social media.

The reason why this is interesting is that not all products will get you a lot of engagement in social media. If you look at brands such as Coca Cola, M&Ms and the like, social media – e.g. a Facebook Page – gives you great opportunity to entertain your fans and to communicate with your customers, thereby strengthening your brand. But if you sell e.g. insulation material, that might not be very engaging. I’m not saying it can’t be, but it probably won’t. In that case, what you ought to do is to market your social purpose – in the insulation case it could be a fanpage about saving energy. Instead of talking about insulation material, you can engage people in saving energy – which could be by getting new insulation in their houses.

What I’m saying is that in many cases, it can be easier and more rewarding to get people to engage in your purpose rather than your product. So, think about it before you start your social media campaign!

By the way, if you don’t engage with your customers the right way from the start, you might end up with (best case) bored fans or (worst case) people who have a negative attitude towards your company and product.


It has been too long since I last posted a blog, so today is the day for the new blog post! And even though the gray sky outside is not exactly great inspiration, the topic I want to share came to me quickly: I finally got around to watching MadMen! So far, I have only watched the first 6 episodes of season 1 – and I wonder why I waited so long to start watching it. The story and the way this era in (marketing) history is portrayed is just amazing. And what is interesting from a marketing perspective is that so many marketing issues seem to be exactly the same, today.

I have always been interested history – and especially in the history of marketing. I have two huge Taschen books with ads from the 50’s and 60’s and I just love to look at the ads and “read about the times between the lines”. So MadMen is, of course, the perfect show for me! I think it is very interesting to watch the show and compare the way marketing and advertising was discussed then, to the way it is discussed in 2012. Have things changed? Of course they have. But it is still amazing how many basic marketing principles are exactly the same – even though society, products, people and the way we communicate have changed so much. You still have to build marketing strategies using the same principles as before, but in my opinion, developing strategies is harder in 2012 than it was in the 60’s – among other things because segmentation has gotten harder and there is so much “noise” in the information stream that hits people every day. Much of the office dialogue in MadMen could take place in an ad agency today, but of course the execution of the strategies is very different. Apart from that, I am also sure employees in advertising don’t drink and smoke as much anymore! 

I can’t wait to start up the DVD player again tonight and follow Mr. Draper and rest of the MadMen (and -women!). If you are interested in marketing and marketing history and haven’t watched MadMen, I highly recommend that you do.