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18 November 2009

What Is the Goal of Social Media?

Marketing 301: One of the goals -- if the not primary goal of Walmart.com's brilliant fight-picking with amazon.com was achieved. When Walmart.com declared to the world that it would not tolerate being considered less than the go-to site online for the lowest price on surefire bestselling books, the response was, did you even know there is a Walmart.com?
amazon.com started out with its own amazing marketing story: it started by already having "dot com" as part of the Company's name. Some might have thought that was a little limiting back in 1994, but most marketers thought it was brilliant -- the name told you all you needed to know about what the Company does -- it's online. That he also named it after the world's biggest river which also kind of reminds one of the word, "amazing," has all sorts of wonderful marketing implications.
Target jumped into the act, simply by saying, we want in. Then, the question became, does Target sell books, too?
Attended a "MBA in a Day" session at Northwestern's Kellogg Graduate School of Business today courtesy of Fantasy Diamond Corp, my day gig. Lots going on, but what is different in the area of marketing was the instructor's push to know the objectives. What, as a business, is achieved by being on Facebook? tweeting on Twitter? This is contrary to the dozens of advocates for social media and how we must be in in order not to be out, who say we businesses must learn to swim in order not to drown in the future. The question which Larry has asked is if we don't need it now, why do it today? This of course is very Irish. Traditionally, Irish fishermen did not know how to swim. And, when asked why not, since they were going out into open sea, they responded that since they would be going out into open sea, the odds of their learning how to swim actually helping them were quite slim and thus, a basic waste of resources -- if the reason for learning to swim was not to drown while fishing in open sea.
So, going head to head with amazon.com on the pricing of books was not the objective, but rather, Walmart.com's calculated tactic. The wisdom of amazon.com's response will be pondered some more and maybe discussed in a later posting.
I am pondering the wisdom of staying on Twitter right now. It's clearly not something I can keep up with (although one social media advocate told me there's an application out there which enables a Tweeter to set up tweets to be released in a timely manner -- ahhh, where there's a will, there's a marketing way), and I don't believe I'll be letting down "my followers." I really do wish there was a way I can update the website from any computer (I can, actually, but it's logistically a little difficult to explain to Larry and Brenda). For that reason, I will continue to write and publish posts to this blog -- gives me another marketing outlet. TTFN

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