The traditional tenets of brand advertising relied initially on "push marketing," where TV, billboards and newspapers were the major distribution channels. With the entré of social media and "pull marketing," the control of brand messaging shifted to the consumer. Today, "magnetic marketing" allows both the brand and customer to engage at the exact same time - at the time of purchase. At that moment, both entities are equally engaged, because the attraction is that strong.
If 'engagement' is one of the Four Pillars of Social Media, along with 'research,' 'strategy,' and 'measurement,' without engagement there is no need for the others - as all the research, strategy and analytics in the world are for naught if you are not engaging your customer.
Liana Evans at ClickZ firmly believes that "people love to share." I would have to agree. It's an inherent trait that comes part and parcel of the human condition. Social Media has fed into that basic need and opened us all up to a multitude of distribution channels to share in innovative ways, unheard of just a few short years ago.
"Whether it's thoughts, ideas, opinions, tips, tricks, photos, videos, or pieces of content they find valuable, people love to share," notes Evans. They share in many different ways - via Facebook status updates, LinkedIn discussion groups, tweets on Twitter, social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon, uploading videos to YouTube, photos to Flickr, podcasts on iTunes - and other forms of online communiques such as e-mail, Skype and instant messaging,
"They do this because they want to engage with people and get their opinion," Evans adds. They want some kind of acknowledgement from the community, whether it's "Thank you!" or "That's cool!" or thumbs up with one of Facebook's controversial "like" buttons.
Evans goes further on to say, "there's an inherent need of anyone actively engaged within a social community to know that whatever they've shared has been received.This type of engagement is what propels users to keep being actively engaged and contributing to a community."
Based on this paradigm, magnetic marketing allows the brand to come together with its customer at the one point in time when both are traversing the "same wave length." For instance, this does occur when a guest books a guestroom utilizing the hotel's online booking engine. During the confirmation process, if they received a message update about their hotel visit, they would be more inclined to share this info with their communities of followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. It is more than likely they will participate in this form of communication at this moment in time (moreover than at any other time during the engagement process with the hotel brand). And when they are given an incentive to do so, the probability becomes even greater.
Based on this strategy, guests booking a room at the James Hotel Chicago are offered a 'complimentary room upgrade' when they share their upcoming stay at the hotel with their friends and followers on Twitter, Facebook and/or LinkedIn.
When the guest "shares" their stay in such a fashion, as token of the hotel's appreciation, they email a voucher to the guest to be redeemed at the front desk at time of check-in. With a QR code embedded into each voucher, a unique URL is established for all booked guests for easy redemption.
This two-step process is just a small sampling of offerings provided by Novologies' unique Flip.to social media service for hotels and airlines. While this form of magnetic marketing engages the customer during the booking stage, the company has also enhanced their service with a means to engage the customer "during" the stay, and "post stay" - as these stages are also moments in time when magnetic marketing come into play. I will focus more on those customer-and-brand engagements in future posts.
Other related posts that focus on "Magnetic Marketing" and "Flip.to" and can be found here.