Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.
This is an important thought to keep in mind as companies start to tap into the power of Web 2.0 and social media Yes, brands are now able to create wonderful interactive experiences online. But the "if we build it, they will come" mentality doesn't always work.
All of your efforts with Web 2.0, social media, etc. should be based on one thing – what your customers want/care about.
Sometimes brands are so caught up inside their own bottle they forget – sometimes she's just not that into you.
A perfect example of that is a recent marketing campaign by Comcast.
Seth Stevenson at Slate has a great article – Would You Like Your Cable Company More if It Were Quirky and Hip?
He points out that, while the TV commercial has some cool artistic attributes, it doesn't change people's attitudes about Comcast.
As for Comcast's interactive website, Seth has this to say:
The campaign Web site lets you download Comcast wallpaper and ring tones and create your own "room" in Comcast Town, complete with virtual furniture and accessories. You can also see the lyrics for the Comcast Town songs and even open PDFs of the sheet music. The site is meant to be a sort of interactive playground for Comcast enthusiasts.
Which brings me to the problem with this campaign. Who on earth would become a Comcast enthusiast? Who hangs out at a Comcast Web site and rearranges pretend furniture? Or, put more broadly: What sane person forms a loving attachment to a cable behemoth?
Couldn't have said it better myself.
If you are marketing to women, keep something in mind – her new "inbox" includes her email (sometimes a work and personal account), Facebook, Twitter, probably several communities she belongs to and blogs she reads and interacts with on a regular basis.
The competition for her attention online is fierce. If you're going to create a Web 2.0 experience, start with what your customers want and care about (instead of with your products). Focus more on her, and less on you. And beware of the "she's just not that into you" phenomena.
How to overcome the "she's just not into you" phenomena.
Kraft gets it. They could have put up a website about Mac and Cheese and started a community for women who just want to sit around all day and talk about what a difference Mac and Cheese makes in their daily lives. Like Comcast, they could have set up a virtual kitchen where moms, who just can't get enough of cooking for their families, could spend hours making virtual Mac and Cheese dinners. (Just think of the calorie savings by serving these virtual meals) Oh the possibilities.
Ok, you may be chuckling, but I've seen stupider stuff make it into Internet branding efforts.
But Kraft is smarter than that. Instead of starting with their products, they're starting with what their customers actually care about. Kraft has an iPhone app that lets people (I'm guessing many of them women or moms) pull up Kraft recipes on their phone.
I love that. You're at the store, you're trying to come up with dinner ideas, you pull up a recipe on your phone and shop for the ingredients, including Kraft food ingredients, right there at the store.
Start with what your customers care about and provide something of true value to them.
For more ideas on this subject read – how to use social media to market to women.