Delusion is as Delusion Does

knorpp The gent at left is Bob Knorpp, “president of the Cool Beans Group, a marketing strategy consultancy based in New York. He likes laughing even more than breathing.”

Discussion question: Why is the marketing world so full of men who look and talk like this, while serving a function in the society that would embarrass most PropDep overseers? Is it a simple case of spending too much time around dishonesty? Or is it some form of attempted psychological compensation?

In any event, compare Mr. Knorpp’s whimsical self-presentation with the way he talks about you and me:

There’s still an irresistible urge to build an audience at scale. We feel we need to get our message in front of as many people as possible, so we we put all of our efforts into generating followers and likes and +1s. Then once we build this mass audience, we communicate with it and many times sell against it. And we keep being confronted by the fact that this audience is still too small, compared with the larger audiences of traditional and digital ad spending. Thus we dismiss these micro audiences, or at the most, treat them as quaint test projects.

Yet as those direct-marketing models that we were working with two decades ago proved, there’s real value hiding within the smaller subsets of any aggregate audience — a value we are simply not tapping.

There is a place and a time for reaching an audience at scale. Paid media and mass reach are still very effective methods of spreading a message. But in the case of many of our social efforts, this mass philosophy is actually damaging the relationship with our community leaders. So while the metrics may show increased interaction, the value of the engagements may actually be lessening.

A community is an organic thing. It is much different than a customer file. It is a place where our customers might be interacting with each other as much as with us. So we need models and programs that recognize this intangible as a valuable asset.

What do you think happens to an advocate whose voice is suddenly drowned out? We can’t always say with statistical certainty, but common sense tells us he or she may stop talking. The advocate is no longer special. We’ve destroyed her bully pulpit. So off she goes.

The ironic thing is that it’s not hard to identify an influential advocate in an existing, functioning community. There are third-party modeling tools to be sure, but an active community manager can provide you with a list within a few days. And we can still grow the community to scale by targeting these folks — and probably do so for less effort and money spent. It may not happen as quickly, but it will happen more intelligently, scaling the influence of your advocates right alongside your follower counts, and building a community that is engaged rather than simply wondering why they are there.

We may or may not get to a model one day for the social spaces that is as effective at targeting loyalists as Ward’s model was in the direct space. But there is no doubt that most of us are not properly valuing the advantages of working with smaller, more engaged audiences. Until we consider how our mass approaches are affecting this advocate value, we will fail to realize the full benefits of [Facebook marketing] programs and miss the path to profitability that is present in these more engaged connections. [Source: Advertising Age]

Scratch a hippie, find a profit-seeking social engineer.