Facebook Can’t Do Magic

With the Facebook IPO, there has been a lot of discussion on the value of Facebook. Grounded in that discussion, there has also been a lot of chatter about Facebook’s revenue stream, generated through advertising. With that discussion, many marketers have weighted in.

In truth, this debate has been going on for a while, and not much has changed. Marketers recognize the communities that are forming around Facebook. Marketers recognize social media as a way to reach their targets. At the same time, marketers have no clue how much of their advertising dollars they should dedicate to this channel. Return on investment has long been a fuzzy topic when one put the words social media and advertising together in one sentence.

However, too often we start with the question of ROI and ends with the question of ROI, when that may not even be the right question to ask. Let’s be honest, the easiest and cheapest way to manipulate sales for many products is to just play with pricing. But that’s not necessarily the right move.

The right question to ask is how is your service or product enhancing a consumer’s life? From there, you figure out what your brand positioning is. Then, you figure out what are the right activities to bring this brand positioning to life. It may or may not include Facebook. And it’s up to us to figure that out!

The success or failure of any marketing campaign rests with the marketer. The buck stops with us. Facebook (and I can substitute here other popular tricks like Groupon, or Twitter, or Pinterest, or even the tried and true TV, print, price promotion, etc.) is not the magic that would turn an otherwise unremarkable product into a household name. Facebook is not the magic that would turn an otherwise undifferentiated positioning into a memorable brand. Facebook is not the magic that would turn an otherwise forgettable campaign into a brand-building activity. Facebook is ultimately one of many tools available in a marketer’s tool kit. It’s up to the marketer to figure out which tool to use, which tool to not use, and how to use each tool effectively.

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