If TV, Newspapers and Billboards is Push Marketing - and Web 2.0 and user-generated content produces Pull Marketing, what's prompting 'Magnetic Marketing?' According to Ivan Askwith, director of strategy for the digital creative agency, Big Spaceship, "magnetic marketing is when the consumer and brand are drawn together, at the right time, without either side needing to take an aggressive action." Like a magnet, the customer and brand come together because the attraction is that strong.
For years, the business terms 'push and pull' originated in supply chain management as the exchange of a product between two parties. On the supply side, the brand traditionally 'pushed' the message out to the consumer, while on the market side, those same consumers 'pulled' the goods or information when they have a need. Some have described this dynamic as the "Technology Push vs. Market Pull" paradigm.
Social Media allowed 'pull marketing' to gain more prominence over the course of the last five years as social networks like Facebook and Twitter gave the consumer a voice. From this space, the 'wisdom of crowds' emerged as an essential component that brands, marketers and advertising agencies needed to take seriously. Those that chose to ignore these new business channels quickly lost ground to their competitors. User-generated reviews, customer service complaints and blog critiques have spawned CRM sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp as the 'go-to' services to determine where travelers and diners will overnight or dine.
Ivan AskwithIn an interview, I conducted with Askwith recently, he noted that "location-based social networking… actually helps change the user's experience as we move through our world." He affirms that "location-based services are 'magnetic' and focused on connecting people with information at the right time, and in the right place, for it to be useful and actionable." In essence, "location-base services are the ultimate form of contextual marketing: capable of reaching people at the right time to influence (and assist) their behaviors and decisions."
A great example of "magnetic marketing" in action is a new social media service developed by Novologies. Their latest web product called Flip.to is a social media tool that has been developed for hotels, airlines and restaurants that melds consumers into brand advocates (see previous post: "Flip.to, Social Media Tool Creates Evangelist, Buzz and Sales.")
Flip.to social media tool for hotels, airlines and restaurants
When a customer books a guestroom at a hotel using Flip.to, he or she is allowed to tweet about their visit via Twitter, share with their friends on Facebook and update their status on LinkedIn. Since "sharing" has become an acceptable means of communicating, and since this type of 'non-threatening' messaging is coming from the user versus the brand, there is a greater sense of trust that emanates during the "magnetic marketing" process.
Flip.to tweet from James Chicago
On the restaurant side, Flip.to helps restaurants get their guests buzzing at the right place at the right time as well. Using one's own mobile phone, each guest can review, check-in and then broadcast it on Twitter and Facebook. As the diner sends out updates to his followers and friends, both the diner and his network are incentivized with discounts and value-added offerings for current and future meals at the restaurant.
Flip.to Restaurant app
Since the restaurant app is a 'Web" app and not a 'mobile' app like "Foursquare' or 'Gowalla,' diners have quick access to the Flip.to application via the Internet versus downloading the LBS app to their smartphone. Since "location" is key in all location applications, one could easily see the advantages as to how this tool can attract more local business to establishments using Flip.to.
For both hotel/restaurant operators and their customers, Flip.to is a win-win, as it helps expand the hotels' and restaurants' brand message to networks of people they would never have had access to, in addition to communicating with existing guests at time of purchase. And as an added bonus, operators are given real-time reviews and critiques by their guests, so they can address service levels and quality-control issues as they are occurring.
Flip.to is also in the process of expanding their tool to permit users to connect directly with TripAdvisor immediately after a hotel stay, which again solidifies the establishment's and the customer's needs in real-time. The operator gets immediate feedback and the customer is not delayed in critiquing their stay.
Since Flip.to is still in beta, they are looking for additional hotels, airlines and restaurants to continue to improve and enhance the product to incorporate other 'magnetic marketing' capabilities. One such area would be hotel and airline loyalty programs. Interested parties should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for Web presentations and to see if they qualify for Charter membership for the beta program.
"Magnetic Marketing" is a relatively new business term that I am sure you will hear more about in the weeks and months ahead, as we start using some of the tools that are embracing this new form of customer interaction. And as augmented reality gains more traction, the capabilities that are inherent with that technology will only enhance magnetic marketing practices. As Askwith notes, "it's not hard to imagine the opportunities: take a grocery store, where you can find deals, compare local prices, and get recipe suggestions for any product, just by pointing your phone at it."
The possibilities for magnetic marketing are endless. In traditional marketing, we use to define 'revenue management" as reaching the right price, for the right customer at the right place & time with the right promotion. With magnetic marketing, I would add "with the right technology." While the combination of push-pull advertising is still required by any effective marketing campaign, I think a more comprehensive approach in today's marketplace is the new combo of 'push-pull-magnetic' marketing.
Dilbert Cartoon on Marketing