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Loyalty: The Only Way to Get What You Don’t Need.

April 29, 2010

Over the past few weeks I have been observing and participating in graduate student presentations and I must say that they have been more than impressive. The class is based around contemporary issues in new media, and the presentations themselves range from news vs. entertainment, geo-targeting, online branding and even cyber warfare. As a man who is interested in online marketing tactics, specifically through social networking platforms, I was intrigued by one lecture in particular: Social Media Policy. The content focused largely on the etiquette a company should abide by when exploring the depths of marketing in social networks. The attending group was asked to contribute in forming an unofficial set of rules for which companies could refer to. Below is the list we collaborated on:

1. Be transparent.
2. Be honest.
3. Do not bribe, threaten or manipulate in order to alter online content like posts, comments or blogs.
4. Disclose resources and tools, especially in the case of user reviews.
5. Know your audience and appropriate channels of communication.
6. Avoid making negative comments about the organization in your public and private social media presence.
7. Do not control the conversation.
8. Disclose your identity at all times. If you are going to speak under someone else’s name, disclose your own identity.

The OCD in me was pushing for two more to round-out a list of ten, but I suppose a few of them are multifaceted. All of these policies seem to be logical and certainly make sense in my mind, but what is it that these marketers are striving towards when following a list such as this? It’s interesting because traditional marketers will tell you that they do what they do to sell a product. After all, it is all about the Benjamins. However, I recently read an article in the New York Times titled, “Linking Customer Loyalty With Social Networking”. What caught my attention most was the word loyalty, because there is no mention of this in our unofficial list. We came up with rules, but we never came up with a mission statement or pur

pose to go along with them. So, which is more important, the rules, or the reason for them? Sort of a chicken and egg dilemma.

The article talks a lot about geo-targeting a mobile device while capitalizing on consumers’ infatuations with Twitter and Facebook (this could be a whole other post in correlation with another presentation, I’ll leave it alone for now), but it’s the extra attention and care that a customer gets when they are near a product they follow on either of the two social networking sites. Woah, hold up a second, you mean to tell me that the marketers have us trained like dogs? Yes. I think that this is what I am trying to get at. It’s a little like Pavlov, every time the bell rings we scurry to dinner. Well, every time our phone alerts us, we run into the nearest bodega to get a discount on a Pepsi. A product we would not have considered buying had it not been for the familiar summon of our smartphone.

Loyalty often describes what a dog is most loved for. Well, it appears that man and his best friend are a little closer than we once thought.

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