From the monthly archives:

February 2010

From time to time I meet business owners that have a bee in their bonnet about one aspect of social media. They may be obsessed with Twitter or firmly believe that they need a Facebook page but when you ask them to put that in the perspective of an integrated marketing plan, they’re hard pressed to articulate how the pieces are intended to come together.

groundswellPart of the issue is that they are looking at social media from a technology point of view. They are smitten by a platform and never step back to look at the bigger picture. That’s why a framework like Forrester Research’s POST methodology is so useful. It forces you to consider the big picture before making choices about technology.

The acronym represents the order in which you consider key aspects of your marketing to arrive at an optimal solution. The letters stand for:

  • People
  • Objectives
  • Strategies
  • Tactics

People - Think about your customers and prospects. How do you characterize or segment your market? What is the demographic you are seeking? Where are they geographically? What is their technographic profile? The purpose in examining your market segment is to make informed judgments about where they are likely to be found online and what behaviors they are most likely to engage in. It will help you decide where to put your online efforts.

Objectives - What do you want to happen? Are you driving traffic to a website, or are you looking for more prospects to walk in your door? The business objectives you seek to achieve must set the framework for evaluating and choosing particular strategies.

Strategy - What marketing strategies will move the needle on your business goals? If you’re trying to build buzz among influential people, maybe a blogger relations campaign will help. For the more revenue-driven perhaps a discount or coupon offering makes sense. It all depends on your objectives.

Tactics - This is where the rubber meets the road. Based on your knowledge of your people, objectives and strategies you’re now in a position to decide which social networks, blogs, microblogs and social media are relevant to your situation and how to integrate them with your traditional marketing mix.

The next time someone urges you to get your business on the social media bandwagon, take a few minutes to think about the elements in the POST process. It puts raw enthusiasm in perspective.