Let social be social

This is a sentence I never thought I would write – the Harlem Globetrotters are direct marketing sages.

Russell Parsons

To explain, The US exhibition basketball team’s digital marketing chief told Marketing Week last week that for them, email is key to driving ticket sales. They had tried Facebook and Twitter with “zero luck”.

He continued: “Whenever we push ecommerce on to our [social media] fans it doesn’t resonate. This may change over the years just like with email marketing when at first people did not trust the [the platform] to purchase from.”

Email was the most effective channel with the best conversation rate, he added.

By shining a light on David Ball’s comments it is not my intention to set the two channels up against each other. My point is this,  to all those arguing that all channels can be used for direct marketing, maybe you’re wrong – maybe social is social and DM is DM.

Since the advent of digital with banner and display and the more recent explosion in social, there has been a tendency to view things online as potential DM channels. All this has managed to do is frustrate a lot people upset about the lack of direct, measurable return.

The switch happened when social media reached a certain level of maturity and people took one giant leap and concluded – that’s where people are so that’s where we sell to them. The clamber to use social as a DM channel has been accelerated by Facebook and then Twitter themselves after they floated on the stock exchange and people started to ask searching questions of the two to justify their large valuations, leading to a glut of ad tools to drive results.

What Ball (I think) and I am saying is this, do not rush to use a channel because it’s there. If you can find a way to make social pay as a DM channel use it but it doesn’t have to be one. There are plenty of other ways to market one-to-one using data.  Nobody ever thought of TV, outdoor or radio as DM so why social?

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