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5M Impressions or 5 Relationships?

I came across a question the other day that made me really scratch my head.

"What is more important: 5 million Impressions or 5 Relationships?"

This question was apparently posed by Joe Marchese, President of SocialVibe at the OMMA Social Conference in New York. After reading a recap of the conversation it became clear Mr. Marchese is slanted towards the belief that relationships are more important. And let me preface my post by saying that as a marketer I tend to agree with his rationale. However it is also clear to me that there is another side to this story that shouldn't be ignored.

In all of my experience with social media marketing we have been ingrained to believe that relationships are key. After all, relationships breed other relationships and so on and so forth.

While 5 million impressions will likely establish awareness, they will not necessarily create any sort of direct and long-term relationship with with a brand. Through establishing a relationship, a given brand can establish loyalty. Through loyalty a purchase is more likely to occur. I keep this notion close to me when working with a client - in other words is this client going to engage with me as a "partner or a paycheck?"

That being said, I want to present the other side of the coin. Let me give you a hypothetical:

Imagine 5M impressions of a given campaign resulted in an average 1% conversion rate (or 50,000). The conversion (or goal) in this example is simply a driver to a given website. Of this hypothetical 1% (50,000) let's also reasonably assume that 3% (1,500) are driven to pick up the phone or purchase directly from this website. These hypothetical 1,500 individuals then receive a product/service.

You can see it now that it would be easy for a marketer to spin this campaign as a success; after all 1,500 people made a purchase. (1,500 is certainly greater than 5, correct?) Despite the fact that 1,500 made a purchase, it would however be ignorant to believe that these individuals have formed a relationship with a given company.

Statistics have shown that these hypothetical 1,500 may never be driven by the same impulse to purchase again. Despite the fact that the product/service was even satisfactory.

This is not the case with relationships. Since I have already indicated that relationships usually result in loyalty, a repeat purchase is highly likely and often times offsets the costs that were incurred through a campaign of 5M impressions. Let's face it, people talk to their friends and their friends tend to listen.

Marketers are continually facing the reality that people are turned off by advertising. People do not believe what marketers tell them. They DO NOT want to be sold something. They are already super-saturated with branded messages being shoved down their throats.

However these same people continue to be passionate about their brands and will even attempt to share their experiences with a given brand to others. This is not necessarily in an effort to promote the brand but rather in an effort to help out their friend/colleague.

With regards to the initial question posed, "What is more important: 5 million Impressions or 5 Relationships" I want to stress that any success metrics will vary by client. However you need to ask yourself, as a marketer, is the purpose of the campaign to form a lasting relationship or a simply get a quick sale?


8/04/2008 09:54:00 PM Subscribe to RSS FeedSubscribe to RSS Feed

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