Monday, August 9, 2010

Some spicy questions

At the outset of this post I will openly admit that I am no marketing expert. I know my stuff, I’ve got a good level of understanding of the basics and a bit more, but I wouldn’t call myself a guru. Not yet anyway.

But even by my understanding, the questions currently being asked about the Old Spice YouTube viral video campaign are puzzling. Questions such as:

“What were the results?”
“What is Old Spice’s ROI for the campaign?”
“Has it been money well spent?”

The reason I’m so confused is that I wasn’t aware the Old Spice campaign was actually over. As I understand advertising and marketing in general, it’s something like this:

Advertising, at its most basic level serves to increase awareness of a product, brand, service…essentially whatever is being advertised. This awareness then needs to be translated into sales, units of a product sold, revenue, profit. Advertising is just one of a range of tools that forms part of the promotions mix. Tools also include sales promotions, direct marketing, PR, personal sales etc…

So the questions being asked of the campaign seem, to me, to be about 6 months too early.

In my mind, Old Spice was always the brand of shaving cream my dad used. I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this. The current campaign has certainly served to raise my awareness of Old Spice as a more modern brand, a brand that I might use as well as, or instead of, my dad.


Surely the next step is for the Old Spice campaign AS A WHOLE to move into the stores and onto the high street. Now we start to see promotions instore involving Old Spice products, freebies in our shopping centres, offers online offering us trials in the post. And only then, when we start to get sales data, should we ask the type of questions I listed earlier.

In all the buzz about social media campaigns and whatnot, we’re forgetting that social media is not a strategy in itself, it’s a tool that is used as part of a much wider, integrated set of tools that form the ultimate strategy.

Questions on ROI need to be asked of the whole campaign, not the individual tools. Let’s not be blinded by these shiny new toys; marketing and advertising existed a long time before social media, and those traditional tools and media are just as important.

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