Giving is the new Taking!

More and more Brands are starting to understand, though an integral approach and solid strategy is too often lacking.

Simply broadcasting your brand message no longer builds your brand and revenue growth in a structural way. Consumers are less influenced by traditional media. The short term effect is still measurable and visible, but the ROI on traditional media is declining. The consumer bases purchasing decisions primarily on opinions and recommendations of friends, family, colleagues, consumers with the same need and existing customers. Research by McKinsey (McKinsey Quarterly, April 2010) found that a consumer is mainly influenced by Word Of Mouth in 20-50% of purchasing decisions.

SuperpromotersSo brands are forced to go back to the basics: focus on the end consumer. They have to, just like in the Middle Ages on the market, invest in the relation with their customers, especially in the relation with current satisfied customers. Main objective: create positive Word Of Mouth, stimulate recommendation behavior. Converting current customers and brand fans to active ambassadors and even to Superpromoters (Vogelaar, R. (2010), The Superpromoter).

Social MediaTo accomplish this, brands massively jump into social media. Here, marketers hope to make a real connections with their consumers and build a relation. A concrete strategy is often lacking. Rest assured, this is not another article promoting the power of social media and trashing traditional media. It is about something bigger: a new vision on marketing where new and traditional media can very well work together, supporting and complementing each other.

MarketGetting vs. MarketGivingI would like to challenge all marketers to review their current marketing strategies, based on the previously mentioned developments. Marketing has traditionally always evolved around MarketGetting: reach as many people as possible, to draw as much of the market to your product/brand as possible. I believe, to be successful in the years to come, marketers should formulate a MarketGiving strategy. MarketGiving stands for everything you as a brand does to add value to the lives of your customers. Everything you do to fulfill their needs on different places(online and offline) and moments. Of course fitting within the brand values and brand story. In exchange for your MarketGiving, your customers will give back!. Below I will tell you what that Return On Investment exactly is.

Brand KarmaSurprise your customers, touch them, help them, support them, or facilitate them so they can help each other. Make them truly enthusiastic about what you did for them and they will share this with their network. Like people share most strong emotions with other people. Definitely try to facilitate them in the most important human needs of present day: Responsibility, Learning, Recognition and Joy. That is how you build your Brand Karma, raise your Brand’s Likeability and convert your target Group to customer, your customers to fan and your fans to active ambassadors and loyal customers that love to be part of your brand story. You structurally build your brand value, revenue and most of all: you build a good relationship with the people you so passionately work for every day, your customers!!

Viral Brand StoryWithin your MarketGiving strategy, social media offers the optimal infrastructure and culture of sharing and liking to make your MarketGiving activities visible, buzzing and shareable. This way, social media is used as an amplifier in your MarketGiving strategy. The potential result: a viral brand story told by your customers for you.

Giving BackMy name is Menno Braakman, evangelist for MarketGiving and Marketing Talent of the Year nominee. If this article added value to your vision on marketing, then this is your chance to give back: vote for me here. The top 3 nominees with the most likes/retweets will progress to the final round of the Marketing Talent Of The Year Competition in July 2011. If I win, you will give me the ultimate chance to share my vision with even more people.
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