Guest post by Alan Hennessy Kompassmedia Providing Digital Marketing, Social Media Management, Social Media Consultancy and #SocialMedia #Training for SME’s. Let our expertise free up yours.

Where is the data to back up your claim that posting products or services online works? Have you ever been asked this question by a client?

Well, the answer is very simple! There is no data and the reason why has a number of contributing factors.

When clients engage with digital marketers, they think ok, now I have taken this person on board to sort out my online marketing everything will change. I am going to receive orders left, right and centre. The phone is never going to stop ringing with orders.


What do you mean wrong? Digital marketers are not miracle workers. We do the job based on the information you give us and how we put this information together is our job.

A large number of small and medium sized businesses either don’t have the time to engage online or make the big mistake of posting content that keeps pushing products and services down consumers’ throats. Let’s step back and take a look at marketing 10 or even 20 years ago.

Before the era of social media, there were different forms of advertising. Newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards could be used. Although the target market was limited by your budget, the message was still the same. Grow your audience by creating the right outcome for the customer.

Let’s take one example from back then and compare it with now. One of the most iconic ads is Coca Cola’s 1971 Hilltop campaign which featured the song ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’. This ad was shot on a hill top in Italy with people from different backgrounds singing the song.

The story goes that a senior advertising executive was flying to London and his flight was delayed, he notices a large number of annoyed people in the queue. He later spotted some of the people from the flight who were now laughing and joking over a bottle of Coca Cola. He thought he had witnessed how Coca Cola can bring people together everywhere in the world. This was the inspiration to create the ad.

The key point to take away from this is empathy with the customer, and making your message memorable. The ad touches on different emotions, diverse cultures, togetherness, unity, clean fresh air, happiness and brand placement. Never once did the ad tell you to buy a bottle of Coke. Instead, they laid the seed for you to go and buy one now to capture the joy, happiness and togetherness experienced by the people in the ad.

This ad was replicated in 1990 to coincide with the 20 year reunion. The same singers and their families took part in a ad similar to the first with one change saying “You can’t beat the feeling” The key messages Coca Cola focused on here were nostalgia, family and the customers’ outcome. If you buy one, you will get that feeling. Both ads create empathy with their customers. The ad was revived again in another form in 2010.

When you move from forcing your message on customers and concentrate on gaining their empathy, the results increase your chance of conversions to sales. Studies have shown a much higher rate of engagement when this is done. As businesses start to understand this and take advantage of it, they find many different ways to reach consumers with social media today. The key factor is focusing on the outcome for the customer and not the solution because if you give them a better outcome the solution becomes easier to find.

You can hire a social media manager to send 10 tweets a day and get a pretty graph. Or you can hire a empathetic, business focused, social media strategist that will make a holistic difference to your brand/image/business.

The role of a digital marketer is to establish the requirements of the client and then to create empathy with their customer and deliver meaningful, useful content that will result in engagement with the brand and turn into leads or conversions.

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Twitter: @kompassmedia

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