A recent Pitney Bowes survey reveals that only 18% of consumers believed that engaging with a larger company or its brands on social media would encourage a repeat purchase. While I believe the study is mildly loaded — Pitney Bowes’s core business is in postage meters and direct mail — there’s a strong takeaway for businesses to not forget about other marketing channels and more important – to produce a great product.
This notion isn’t new, and in fact with so many companies chasing shiny objects (and agencies pushing them to do so) we’ve posted reminders to focus on their products and business first before signing up for every social media startup/service that comes along.
Other survey findings show that consumers want:
- A home-delivery option;
- Having a say in products and services;
- Control of channels and frequency of received communications.
- A choice of channels to contact a company.
Oddly enough, social media can fulfill or supplement three of these four findings. And again, except for the first bullet, the survey clearly ties back to the company’s direct mail and printing heritage.
That said, most companies admit that they have not implemented social media channels effectively. Understandably, the space is still emerging from its infancy so budgeting, staffing and other key factors, like ROI, are still gray areas for a lot of companies. Don’t believe me? Go check out the Facebook pages and integration of social channels on company sites.
Sure, there are front runners like Ford and Dell. They have staff supporting these initiatives and they’ve invested heavily in agencies to help. That said, they (especially Ford) have focused on building products consumers want and are using social channels to get the word out.
The bottom line? Before we throw social media under the bus (or cheerlead that it will save your business), companies should look in the mirror at their product offering(s) and determine what role social media will play in the marketing mix.