Marketing Tools In The Brave, New World: Social Media & Web 2.0

By • Dec 3rd, 2009
Category: Business, Ideas, Internet and Telecom, Social Media, Start-ups, Technology, Web 2.0

How are marketing heads in Silicon Valley adopting to the new, tough economic environment? What are their marketing weapons of choice in this brave, new world?  Social media and Web 2.0 are the weapons of choice for some of the marketing heads in major corporations and start-ups. How are companies effectively using these new tools was the topic of discussion at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association (SVAMA) event this evening.  Participating in the session were Donna Wells, marketing head of Mint; Mark Wilson, VP, Corporate Marketing, Sybase and Vince Ferraro, former VP of Marketing of HP. What was unique about this event is that the audience and the panel guests were spread across through different rooms and used Cisco’s TelePresence to conduct a rich, interactive meeting. It was as if all 60 people were sitting in one table and were able to see each other clearly and communicate directly.

There was almost unanimous consensus that the luxury of having a big marketing staff with a big budget is a thing of the past. Donna’s marketing staff at Mint consists of 4 people, while Mark Wilson has a staff of 40 people.

Donna said that Mint they did not do any paid advertising. Prior to Mint, Donna worked at Expedia and Intuit. At Mint she operated with a small team of 4 people and a small marketing budget. Her twin marketing weapons of choice were PR and Social Media that gave them lots of ROI as she put it. ” PR and Social Media is the new advertising,” she said. “I love SEO” declared Donna and stressed that at Mint they were big fans of SEO. Her lean marketing department spent time creating good content and did lot of SEO and social media outreach and ”We did not do any paid advertising,” she said. Good content is essential to marketing and she shared 3 points about what she meant by good content:

  • Know your audience.
  • Develop a voice for your company.
  • Keep to a timeline and deliver content on a regular basis. Often at Mint they published 2 blogs posts a day.

Mark talked about content-based marketing. Creating good piece of content whether it consists of  webcasts, videos or blogs was crucial in achieving their marketing goals he said. He also pointed out how good content can be re-purposed and effectively used for internal, as well as external marketing. Sybase recently built an in-house studio and they create video content at a steady pace, which has been a big hit internally, as well as with his customers. Mark stressed the importance of creating simple and sticky content.

Vince made a telling point when he said that creating good white papers is crucial to marketing and that it is still a basic prerequisite for effective marketing. He also pointed out how companies are starting to outsource some of their marketing needs and that in turn has helped trim the costs.

Donna captured the heart of the debate when she said that in the last 20 years what was missing was an intimacy with the customers. In the old days the corner hardware store owner interacted and knew his customers on first name basis and was often privy to their stories, but that intimacy got lost over the years. By effectively using social media and web 2.0 tools you can recapture some of that lost intimacy and create a brand for your product she pointed out. And that I think is the core of marketing in this brave, new world, which is a 2-way, interactive channel.  Storytelling is back, and there are many touch points available today for a company to reach out and interact with their customers and find out what they want and need.

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