Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Marketing campaigns that spread themselves

You know these people. They go to every social media conference. They write books on the subject and speak and get interviewed constantly about it. They network CONSTANTLY and rant about companies that don’t “get it.”

Guess what? They don’t get it because a bunch of people sitting around talking about social media is pretty lame. This is why I never have random tweetups unless there is an actual topic of conversation. It just makes life infinitely more interesting. I also like to promote things — *gasp* — outside of Twitter, and to people who wouldn’t even think to use such tools.

The cornerstone of every good social media campaign is a message. I am lucky to have learned this from Whurley, who was tweeting before you were knee-high to a grasshopper (well, not really, but he’s been on Twitter for a long time). If you are new to social media or just want a little inspiration, I suggest listening to this podcast he’s in.

Marketing isn’t about meeting everyone and going to every conference and writing every book on a topic. It’s about sharing your voice and your message with others, and then hearing theirs. If done properly, even an old school TV advertisement can be something customers can embrace and actually champion. If you don’t have a brand or a message people want to share, you will be working a lot harder than you need to reach people.

Rather than go on and on about this for ages, I’m just going to show you three examples of brands that are easy to share:

Good branding turns into a tattoo

If you can’t tell, that is a tattoo of a cartoon Hugh did for Microsoft. Someone got a tattoo of a marketing campaign. I’ve heard of Apple tattoos as well. Now bear in mind that the first prerequisite to getting your brand tattooed on their ankle is to not suck as a company which is a bit out of marketing’s hands, but having a symbol that people can proudly share with others is key.

Tons of people can talk about building a community. Ben Huh and the gang at Pet Holdings Inc. just do it by uniting people around funny content. You know you have a happy community of users when someone gets this license plate:

This is when you know your brand rocks

  • Amy’s Ice Cream

2009-01-10 13:44:12 -0600

I actually take pictures of their street signs and tweet them. I posted this pic to Flickr and it was viewed almost 300 times and favorited three times. It’s a tip jar. Rather than containing her employees, Amy lets them have fun with the place. They flip your ice cream like Tom Cruise in “Cocktail” and crack jokes. I know Amy’s Ice Cream is expensive for what it is but I don’t care. The experience, which in part includes the marketing, makes it a place you want to take your friends and family to.

A good brand is a thing of joy you give to someone so they can share with others. It says something people aren’t already hearing and fills a void.

This post by Michelle Greer originally was published Aug. 27, 2009, on her blog, michelle’sblog.

Michelle Greer is a Web marketing strategist/geek in Austin, Texas. Case studies of her work have been featured in Mashable, Yahoo News, O’Reilly Radar, and the Austin American Statesman. You can find her tips on marketing and social media at, and her ideas about how
new and traditional media are changing the lives of marketers are found at MarketIQ. Greer joined the Rackspace team on Oct. 26, 2009, with the title of senior manager for corporate development and has the pleasure of making life easier for new customers by explaining Cloud tools.

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