Blog post

Social Marketing Strategy, as Sung by Sinatra

By Julie Hopkins | September 19, 2014 | 1 Comment


If you’re a Yankees fan, by sometime today you will have seen “the video”. Gatorade started airing an ad late this week that features soon-to-be-retired Derek Jeter, walking the last few blocks to Yankee Stadium, accompanied by Frank Sinatra singing, “My Way.” As he approaches the stadium, he greets legions of long time, very surprised fans. It’s a solid 90 seconds (watch it on YouTube here) – worth your next work break, even if you’re a Red Sox fan (or, like me, you roar for the Detroit Tigers).

It is probably relevant to ask yourself at this point, what does a TV ad, about star I don’t cheer for (and may have cheered against) have to do with social media  (the topic I should be blogging about today)?

Cut to the research we’re featuring in our client experience this week. The notes and articles we’ve chosen focus on the tools, techniques, and real-world social marketing successes  Truthfully, we could feature this topic every week, without fatigue, since one of the most common inquiry questions we receive is “who IS doing social marketing well”?

The good news is that social marketing case studies feel like they’re everywhere. But really good social marketing is about doing it YOUR WAY (see, how I circled back to Jeter / Gatorade there)?  Good social marketers articulate a strategic imperative – what they NEED social marketing to do for their brand– then they balance it with what their customers NEED from their social program– and they get to marching (and measuring).

I highlighted a case study in my note this week that’s gotten some industry attention before, but it’s a great reminder of what “your way” might look like. National Instruments makes test and measurement hardware and software systems used by scientists and engineers. Its customers work in the aerospace, automotive, oil, gas and electronics industries, to name a few. Given the breadth and diversity of its customer base, it would be almost impossible to envision and offer support and engagement around every customer use case. Thus, in 1999, National Instruments began its investment in community forums to support engineers seeking solutions. Today, NI leverages customer and developer communities supported by Jive and Lithium Software allowing customers to get answers, and collaborate with engineers.  Their communities are instrumental to helping them understand product usage patterns, identify customer needs, hone in on important features, drive sales (through links to custom parts on commerce sites), increase loyalty, and reduce support costs. This may not sound like your standard hashtag selfie campaign, but it’s serious social marketing, and it works.

When I get questions from clients about “who is doing social marketing well,” I highlight these and other stories where a strategic objective meets a social tool, and beautiful music is made. This is not always correlated to the brands or organizations that have the most followers or connections, or the stories that make the headlines, so don’t confuse volume with impact.

Do social marketing YOUR way, such that when you’re asked if your investments are creating value, the answer is obvious. And then, cue the soundtrack….

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1 Comment

  • Anna Maria Virzi says:

    Julie, Excellent point about why marketers cannot pursue cookie-cutter approaches to promoting their brands.
    As a fan of Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter, his farewell video resonated because:
    1. It’s authentic.
    2. Is a tribute to Jeter’s fans, capturing a range of emotions – from giddy to respectful.
    3. Offers consistency. It uses a song, “My Way,” sung by Frank Sinatra that complements the Yankees’ unofficial theme song, “New York, New York,” also sung by Sinatra.
    4. Well-timed. Any sooner, the video would have made a long good-bye even longer.
    5. Showcases New York City’s iconic skyline and landmarks, adding another layer of context what Jeter – and his fans – experience when they travel through the city.