Another Social Media Wakeup Call For Ad Agencies!

wake up callOn Saturday, June 13 reported that Dell had made $3,000,000 from Twitter sales.

“Dell has admitted to raking in over $3 million from advertising its products on Twitter. The PC maker has been using Twitter for two years, and employs proprietary software to track sales from users clicking through from Twitter links. Of that $3 million, the company claims that $1 million was made in the past six months, following an explosion in Twitter’s popularity. (72.5% of Twitter users joined in 2009.) The majority of sales have come through the @DellOutlet account, which posts six to ten special offers a week — with at least half of these being Twitter exclusives. Though the $3 million is a drop in the bucket given Dell’s $12.3 billion in revenue during the first quarter of this year, it further bolsters Twitter’s case for charging businesses.”

We now have documented proof that social media channels can and do drive sales. This should help dispel some of the myths that surround the world of social media. By rights it has earned its place alongside other media and channels on the communications plan.

The press release highlights some interesting facts that I believe are worth considering more closely:

  • Dell has been using Twitter for two years. That’s probably 28-18 months before most of us had even heard of it, or if we had, we did not pay it much attention. I may be wrong but, my guess is that Dell’s foray into Twitter did not happen as a result of an agency recommendation.
  • Dell have developed proprietary software to track sales of users clicking through twitter links. This tells me that Dell invested their time and money developing this internally.
  • Dell sends out 6-10 special offers each week with at least half being Twitter exclusives. This approach not only reflects their heritage of direct to consumer commerce, but also demonstrates great direct marketing discipline with tracking and measurement.

While they are correct when they say that $3 million is a “drop in the bucket” right now from a revenue perspective, who knows what it might grow to be in time to come?

I applaud their efforts and their tenacity. They did not give up after 3-6 months but kept working at it to make it work. They are now ahead of most, if not all, of their competitors. They have a track record, know what works and what does not, and are best positioned to take future advantage of the channel as it develops.

For those agencies that have yet to embrace social media as an integral component of their new business development strategy, this should be a wakeup call. Used both correctly and strategically, it can be used to improve your agency prospecting efforts exponentially.


2 Responses to Another Social Media Wakeup Call For Ad Agencies!

  1. […] Predicatably, the news media and social network proponents are ecstatic. Sky news calls it “the latest example of how brands are generating profits from social media,” while Clive Maclean Consulting calls it “Another social wakeup call for ad agencies.” […]

  2. Great example of Twitter success. Dell is one brand that seems to be doing things right across the Twitterscape. I’d also toss in Best Buy as another brand – and another retailer -that is executing well on Twitter. The common characteristics of both? Retailers. In-demand products and services. Great understanding of their consumer. And while there may be more – the most important thing they’re both communicating on Twitter is news. Customer-specific recommendations.Product information. Warranty specifics. Return policies. Whatever is on someone’s mind – a “face” (or faces) on Twitter is/are there to help.

    I believe big brands have the chance of building their brands and businesses when there is news to “push” – just because those interested in the brand want to know what’s going on with it. But news also starts conversations. Conversations turn into relationships. And relationships lead to sales.

    All this brings me to brands that have no news to tell. I’m not convinced they should use social media. I’m also not convinced they shouldn’t. As far as I’m concerned the jury is still out. That said, one of the reasons I believe the jury is out for me is because of what I consider to be worthless drivel about brands on Twitter.

    Here are some Tweets I found last night. Just some brands that came to mind and I searched them out. Not scientific – but hopefully helps make my point.

    For Bud Light:…oh and i cant forget about the six pack of Bud Light Lime they got me too! That stuff is yummmmmmmyyy

    For Dove:My skin smells so nice this morning… Thank you, bar of dove soap. 🙂

    For Charmin: I wanna use Charmin Bathroom Tissue, it’s nice & soft!

    OK. Enough.

    If any brands originated any of these Tweets via accounts manned or womaned by employees, PR folks, freelancers or relatives? C’mon. Sure, your brand name is out there – but so what? There’s no conversation. There’s no information. There’s nothing new. An impression? Sure. But a quality impression that’s gonna’ put your brand on a consumer’s radar and help drive a sale? Doubtful.

    And if these Tweets were originated by consumers? If your want to report that your body smells, you need a Starbucks, that friends bought Dr. Scholl’s for their stinky boots feet or whatever? Fine. Have at it. That’s what Twitter is there for. At least for you it is.

    Bottom line for me is that there is no bottom line on the role social media plays in the role of brand marketing. And if anyone says they have it figured out – either pay ’em a boatload of money to work for you – or tell them to take a hike.

    But if you’re going to meet with a client or potential client about social media as part of their brand’s integrated marketing effort – there’s no harm is saying it’s not the thing to do if there isn’t news to engage the audience in. And let’s face it, we live in a world of me-too products where a lack of real news – for consumers…not the brand team – is hard to come by. In these instances brand image can be the tool that generates a brand purchase.And there are more powerful mediums than social media to deliver those messages.

    Being on Twitter just because everyone else is isn’t a strategy – or at least might not be a well thought out tactic. And it can be a waste of time to be there. If a brand doesn’t have the budget for an impactful promotional effort, world-class quality POS or an effective television campaign – as an agency you’d tell ’em no, right? Have the confidence to say no to social media, too.

    But with the right brand at the right time with the right stuff to say? Success stories certainly suggest Twitter holds the potential to be huge help.

    David Strandberg, Minneapolis

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