Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Big events, Mass Marketing and Social Media

Mass Marketers are increasingly fighting the battle against clutter. There is clutter in TV ads, online banner ads, billboards, radio, magazines and even news. News is a bad investment for a marketer considering the numerous sources that are pouring opinions and yes, the 'breaking news', live coverage, 'we cover it first' and all other variants. There are so many consumer and trade magazines that they can keep a user busy 24 hours, 7 days a week. So it is quite obvious that the mass market is dying and so is the business surrounding it. TV channels are increasing, magazines are increasing and so is the vast broadening spectrum of agencies that is  further adding up to the existing clutter and costs of cutting through it. This means that the marketer can't reach his audience with any single form of communication. But the growth of clutter is giving rise to big events where the probability of people tuning in is quite high. One such event is the Indian Premier League (IPL).
With a cult forming around IPL and its local teams, IPL franchisee owners have the capability to reap the benefits of mass media. Kolkatta Knight Rider's (KKR) tie-up with Nokia helped Nokia in its marketing campaign. Nokia had the second highest recall (after DLF) in the first season of IPL despite a poor performance of KKR. The sound strategy of KKR made it the best financially performing team in the first season of IPL. With so many people tuning in (virtually everyone), mass marketers can reach their target audience with a series of commercials during the event. I call this "Mass Targeting". The ability to 'Mass Target' makes big events such as IPL, Super bowl and World Cups precious for marketers. Due to this advantage, IPL or Super Bowl advertisement prices are sky high and ofcourse  life is the best for those who get hold of the media.
The Break-free phenomena
Cricket, football and world cups are events that get mass attention. Another interesting thing about such events is that people like to watch them without a break. They are gripping. And here lies the opportunity for marketers to get their product in picture. There are breaks in such games that are used for commercial purpose (also popularly known as commercial breaks). And such commercial breaks tap into the herd of people watching the game. Know matter how popular social media becomes, the ability to catch the large mass of people at one single time still stays with the broadcasters of these behemoth events.
But Social Media still fits in...
As people watch these big events, they tweet, write and share their opinions on the social network. So once these big events are over, those with smaller budgets can get a hold onto to the post-event buzz. An interesting trend about these events and social media is the involvement of people. Those who tune into social media and make an effort to write about these events are more involved than others. By knowing the profiles of these people, marketers can yet again target their campaigns. Simply asking, "Who writes more about that football match?" or "Who is more opinionanted about that cricket match?" and "What does he do?" can give social media marketers another opportunity to target people who saw those expensive ads during the match. Moreover, it is a low cost, high return approach, which the mass marketer yet again misses despite breaking through the clutter.