I read with interest a post on Sports Marketing 2.0 by Tim McGarry. In it, Tim discussed the hits and misses of social media in Super Bowl XLV and made some suggestions for how it can be improved in the future. (Speaking of the future, I for one can hardly wait for next February when Indianapolis plays host. But I digress…)
I thought Tim made some good points (which I agree with) and I encourage you to spend a few minutes reading it. But it also got me thinking about one thing in particular. Tim writes that content, clarity, and integration are all key elements of successful social media campaigns; but these are primary considerations for any marketing campaign, regardless of the medium (or whether social media is involved at all.) He went on to criticize Mercedes Benz in particular because he felt they missed an opportunity to incorporate Twitter into their campaign. Tim writes:

“The final takeaway message is the need for clarity in a social media marketing campaign.  Many brands tried to launch innovative social media campaigns, yet only a few did so successfuly.

Mercedes, for example, did not effectively clarify its ‘Tweet Race’ campaign.  Those with knowledge of the Race were expecting to see the promotion incorporated into the Super Bowl commercial, but were instead left with a vague car commercial featuring P Diddy.  Mercedes had a creative concept and the campaign generated substantial conversation on Twitter, but I thought Mercedes missed an opportunity to incorporate this in their Super Bowl spot.”

When I consider his point (that Mercedes missed the boat by not incorporating their Twitter efforts in their spot), my brain immediately jumped to the notion that not all people are like me (or Tim or– in fact– each other.) I only mention this because it’s so easy to get pulled into the trap of thinking “this idea is good because it resonates with me” or “that idea is bad because I would never do that…”

It’s difficult work, to be sure, but extraordinarily important to be able to separate ourselves and our own perceptions from the creative and try to let results dictate our actions (from a marketing perspective.) Regarding Mercedes, I wonder if someone just did the math and decided it didn’t make sense: 110 million people watching the Super Bowl vs. 175 million registered Twitter users vs. ?? active Twitter users. The real question is that last number. Various reports show that some 40% of registered users have never sent a tweet (many others are spam accounts tweeting constantly), 25% have no followers… There was even a statistic floating around that estimated 80% of all Twitter users have sent out less than ten tweets and only a very small percentage are responsible for the vast majority of activity (according to RJ Metrics and others.)
So while there is undoubtedly some subset of the market that may have been tweaked by Mercedes omission of their Twitter campaign during the Super Bowl, it’s probable that they determined these were two different market segments that needed to be treated differently. The content, after all, needs to match the audience as well.
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