The social media and content marketing value model for organisations

I was having a conversation with a colleague recently about the value of social media, content marketing and building a community around your brand. The discussion continued (for a while as we are both good talkers) and we ended up with a model the neatly illustrates this value in terms of a conventional/traditional product launch cycle for both B2C and B2B marketers and product managers.

Understanding the value of social media and content:

While the value from customer relationships, discovery/search and data generation perspectives have been very well explored (and are now rightly taken for granted), we wanted to get a bit more explicit about what this could mean in terms of the cost and effectiveness of product release/launch events over time. So what we have tried to explore here is the value of content and social activity in terms of customer advocacy, content co-creation and network effect as an expander of:

a) Customer/audience reach and;

b) The effectiveness of individual activities to promote/launch new products to market.

Models for understanding value:

Traditional Product Launch Cycle

Above is a traditional product launch cycle. There are peaks in activity but little is done to create lasting, sustainable value. This means that each time the process is initiated, similar levels of effort and investment are required to product the desired market effect/impact.

Social Media and Content Potential

With the addition of social media, content marketing and other activities designed to actively build an ongoing relationship with customers, we see a more hybrid model addressing product launch cycle. In this model, social media, content and ongoing community connection allows us to create sustainable value and effectively reduce the resources that are required to achieve the market effect/impact moving forward. This can be achieved by bringing the customer/audience closer to the product development or the product launch process, creating engaging content for audiences and stimulating conversation and knowledge sharing (both company/customer, and customer/customer).

Social Media and Content Resourcing

Naturally creating the conditions for effective social media and content use and the building of ongoing connection and customer advocacy requires a level of initial investment (both time, resource and money). If done correctly though, it can become a self-sustaining system, where content is generated by both the company and the audience, and return considerably more benefit and impact in relation to the direct resources invested. This can also mean that the spending on individual product release/launch can be reduced.

Hybrid Social Media and Content/Traditional Product Launch Cycle

The potential exists to build on this new value to increase the impact of individual product launch events and hence accelerate the creation of sustained value.

Benefits of adopting a combination social media and content/traditional Product Launch approach:

In this way, the business return becomes about either:

1) Increasing the impact of resource that is invested in each event by combining it with a higher base level of customer/audience advocacy and connection, or

2) Reducing the level of investment required to achieve market impact for product releases, by again relying on the higher levels of earned customer advocacy and peer to peer recommendation.

Summarising social media and content value:

Fundamental to social and content activity is the idea of transforming customers into advocates of brand, products and services. The importance of encouraging and stimulating advocacy and recommendations is nothing new, but when we consider that the most recommended company in its category grows at a rate of more than 2.5x the category average (according to Bain & Company findings).

This is particularly true today when the speed, reach and weight of such advocacy (or it’s opposite) has been significantly amplified by audience and customer connectivity and social networking.

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