Module 3 – Deliver and Iterate
Module 3 will teach you:
- A roadmap to delivering your program to the market
- How, as an organisation, to implement a market-oriented philosophy
- To think about relationship marketing
- Implementation: Who, What, When, Where and How
- Collecting important information along the way
- Promotional strategies (getting leverage)
We are now ready to implement and deliver the social marketing program¾other words, put your designed social marketing program (Module 2) into action and implement your plans. There is much work to do getting your social marketing program into the market. Depending on your program’s size, budget and scope (and on your organisation), implementation can take very different approaches.
Figure 15 – The road map to implementation
Following a market-oriented approach is to focus on a range of factors ensuring you keep your target audiences and stakeholders in your sights. A bottom-up philosophy and an outside-in approach will help ensure you are always looking outwards, not inwards, holding your target audience at the centre of program design and implementation. Market orientation means:
- Explicit customer (target audience) and consumer focus in everything we do
- Market intelligence generation (e.g. direct interaction with the target market(s) and other program stakeholders)
- Market intelligence dissemination (e.g. shared data, communication within the team and meetings to share intelligence).
- Market responsive design
- Market responsiveness (e.g. ability to respond quickly to competition or consumer feedback)
- Risk taking (e.g. willingness to take chances and trial alternatives)
So, is your organisation market-oriented? What is its role, and can its current thinking be influenced? There are tools to audit market orientation which will assist your understanding of the processes and systems that your organisation can implement to improve its market orientation.
Relationship Marketing is a helpful tool in achieving market orientation. As its name implies, relationship building is fostering connection (with your audience and other stakeholders). Gaining the trust of the target audience and building a relationship into the longer term requires that an audience ‘buys into’ a social marketing program. The feeling of belonging that results is what branding (and brand loyalty) in commercial marketing does so well. Take Colgate, a reputable and highly recognised toothpaste brand, which the audience trusts to deliver a certain taste, and the long-term benefit of healthy white teeth. In social marketing, the essential relationship between the brand (your program) and your audience is built over time in a process of small, interactive steps. Corporations build trust in their brands by delivering quality products and services (exchange offerings), and consistent messaging (i.e. Integrated Marketing Communications) over time. These messages often reach customers on an emotional level that results in a high ‘mind share’ with targeted audience. Programs need to be designed to spark feelings of relevance, friendliness and trust. Great commercial brands transcend the utilitarian features and benefits of their products to penetrate people’s emotions¾how and why the target market connects with the brand and returns to the brand offering time and again.
How to deliver?
Your social marketing program is likely to trigger work¾depending on your organisation’s size and structure¾across a number of its departments including finance, marketing, human resources, IT, customer service and potentially, many other areas. Alternatively, you may be involved with a number of organisations, or be coordinating a number of likeminded individuals and small groups to deliver the program cooperatively. Therefore, your plan needs to be explicit in assigning roles¾who does what, when, and where (see Figure 16). It is an ensemble act, with all the players working together to achieve the objectives of implementation. Your implementation plan needs to cover the entire duration of the program. Long-term programs should have at least twelve-month implementation intervals to coincide with the financial planning or funding periods. Accurate implementation and monitoring of your program will also require a monthly, weekly, and perhaps even daily breakdown of tasks to be executed.
Who, what, when, where, how
Whether your financial resources are skimpy or substantial, when you designing a social marketing program the same essentials apply. Make sure you know:
What will be done by who; when and where it will be done; and how much it will cost. Essentially, you need an implementation schedule and budget.
Figure 16 – What, when, where, who, and how
Strategic Business Units
Be aware that without a clear implementation plan in place, it is very easy to not do the things you set out to do. And this puts you and your social marketing program at risk. The danger is that objectives and strategies remain in the realm of vague ideas, and necessary tasks are left incomplete. It is important to think of your social marketing program as a strategic business unit with its own plan, objectives, strategies and tactics (that we identified in Modules 1 and 2). Being clear about the vision that is driving you and your team towards achieving the program’s objectives is also helpful. With your team, revisit your strategic vision and goals frequently throughout the program’s life. Remember, to achieve your goals, good leadership is vital.
Every social marketing program involves a tailored process. For operations to stay on track and for people stay on task, processes are key. . Particularly if your budget is limited, you will want lean and highly automated structures (More on agile management principles can be read here). Rigorous process testing is necessary. In research for example, to what extent can your current survey data collection and evaluation methods be automated? Automated surveys with integrated data analysis and role-based reporting can create the space for dedicated attention to designing better program solutions. McKinsey’s Fanderl, Neher, & Pulido (2016) framed this journey-centric measurement which facilitates the ‘organising principle of measuring customer experience at the journey level, as opposed to looking only at transactional touchpoints or overall satisfaction [including evaluation].’
Read more here: Fanderl, H., Neher, K., & Pulido, A. (2016). Are you really listening to what your customers are saying? McKinsey.
As part of the process of continuous improvement, seeking feedback is an approach that will help you design better social marketing programs. Commercial organisations know that rapid iteration using customer insights is the way to come up with a winning product (as Coca Cola, Unilver, or Procter and Gamble prove). Reporting metrics are one thing; creating a pipeline of feedback (including from frontline staff) and actions and exploiting these insights to change the design and/or execution of the process is quite another way to deliver what the market wants when it want it.
Software that helps to deliver on time:
In the digital age, and while the GANNT chart continues to feature across the board in business and marketing textbooks, support for your endeavour is at hand in digital project management software that can help you manage large teams and execute your implementation plan. Current digital software solutions for project management include Podio, Slack, Asana, Wunderlist, and Zendesk, among many others. Even simpler is an excel spreadsheet listing notes, key dates, tasks, responsibilities, expenses and projections.
A feedback system will be important to process evaluation as the program is being rolled out into the market, to:
- Ensure the delivery of the program (timing and quality)
- Monitor that everything is happening according to plan (sources of tracking data might include website visits, customer enquiries, customer bookings, sales, Facebook likes, calls to hotline, visit to service, uptake of program, attendance, feedback channels, lead generation + conversion, Google analytics, email campaigns, media hits, distributed materials: did everything run as scheduled?)
- Allow adjustments where necessary¾be flexible, things often don’t go according to plan
- Provide staff support
- Scout for new opportunities
- Solicit media coverage across all platforms to spread awareness
- Facilitate reporting to sponsors and stakeholders
Markets constantly change and evolve. Responsiveness to changes in the market is important and relies on consistent monitoring. There’s no need to evaluate everything¾ focus on what you set out to do and what your funding and research partners need to know. Market sensing is a valuable tool for staying aware, and alerts you to contingencies that may require action.
Promoting your social marketing program
Your audience needs to know about your social marketing program. Through promotion people find out about your product, service movement or modification, and are attracted to engage with it. Behaviour change can be promoted to the target audience through one or two main channels¾traditional and new media (see Figure 10). In many cases, you might be using a combination of both depending on the nature of your program, your budget, and of course, the media usage patterns and preferences of your target audience(s).
Current technological capabilities suggest that digital strategies should be implemented where possible. Greater reach and interaction with more target audience members will be achieved at less cost. While digital media is less expensive than traditional media forms (see Figure 17), it can present difficulties if expertise is lacking. Not simply a matter of opening a Facebook page and a YouTube account and posting updates on your program, it is now much more about earned media than paid media, and this applies to both new and traditional forms. If funds permit, engage an expert who can advise how to be more digitally strategic and also more effectively report on your successes. Lead generation and lead conversion are the main features of the digital age. And as well, you will need to start speaking your audience’s language if they are to engage with your program¾not vice versa. Talk to us if you need help with your digital strategy and execution.
Figure 17 – Traditional and new media: Which way are you heading?
Promotion helps us speak and engage with our target audience. It is about communicating your designed social marketing program and inspiring your target audience to take action. Three tips for doing this well:
A. Location: Where will you capture the attention and interest of your audience and what is the best time? Ideally, prompts to take action will be as close to the place and time of the behaviour as possible.
B. Message must motivate action: Reminders are a good way to keep your audience engaged with the behaviour, and this may take the form of reminder messages as notifications from an app, social media interactions, or even a well-placed TV commercial, poster and/or sticker.
Figure 20 – Hello Sunday Morning movement
C. Powerful ways to deliver your messages: Think sponsors, partners, spokespersons, and other midstream audiences (e.g. doctors, police etc.). A good example is the Red Thumb campaign launched in the US by Steve Babcock, who gives credit to his daughter for the idea. Inspired by her technique of tying a piece of yarn around her finger to remember something for school, he decided to paint his thumbnail red as a reminder not to use the phone while driving. The campaign grew¾and has now support from Nissan and Adam Levine! Who can you get on board to promote your change efforts?
Figure 21 – Red thumb campaign
Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
IMC is a process for planning, executing and monitoring the program/brand messages that create customer relationships. IMC is about synergy, creativity, integration and communication. The process helps us to define the boundaries of the elements of our promotional mix, and to effectively assess the outcome of our communication campaign. IMC is a collective term embracing all the planned messages used to build the program’s brand, including general advertising, sales promotions, packaging, events, sponsorship, customer service and public relations and helps ensure consistency and maximum impact (reach, frequency, lead generation and conversion). Each IMC tool is a functional area of communication specialisation; when used creatively, each element can have an impact on how consumers think about your program. When the program’s various messages reinforce each other, synergy is produced. Integration needs to occur for all areas of your program that come into contact with your target audience, including customer service, websites, apps, and advertising. Following the IMC process, we strive for creativity and innovation. Here are six tips:
Being creative in program promotion
a) Make it simple, clear and easy to remember
b) Focus on the good stuff
c) Make it relevant to your audience
(Disposable vs. cloth diaper waste annually)
d) Have fun
e) Humans are herd animals – use social norms messaging
f) Emotion is powerful – tell stories about real people
Guerrilla marketing strategies
Conventional models of advertising are slowly and steadily being outmoded, and as social marketers, our budgets are more often than not constrained. Perhaps you have decided to invest the majority of your program funding in the development of a relevant game, or to sustain a service. How then will you promote this most efficiently or effectively? Guerrilla marketing is an umbrella term that refers to ‘unconventional’ tactics for product placement, outdoor advertising alternatives, and persuasion. This type of marketing is not necessarily cheap, and it does largely reflect the latest Madison Avenue (think Mad Men) thought bubbles. The point is, how and where do today’s modern media and consumer audiences come together? Contrary to conventional, top-down directed advertising, guerrilla marketing’s bottom-up rationale plants a seed and then lets reach the surface (with often invisible nurturing). It is a more decentralised collaboration with consumers that doesn’t have the look and feel of advertising, and while at its base participating agency and anti-establishment formats are often combined, imagination can make up for budget deficit.
Check out this great example of how three young entrepreneurs creatively ‘entered’ the New York Fashion week with a US$500 budget. Click on the picture to read the full article and watch the YouTube video.
For further readings on guerrilla marketing tactics have a look at:
Serazio, M. (2013). Your Ad Here – The Cool Sell of Guerrilla Marketing. New York: New York University Press.