Do Social Media Work For FMCG?

by Graham Dodd on 24/01/2012

The old dinosaur in me has become increasingly fascinated in the apparent rise of “online and social media”.

My technical skills are quite limited and frankly I’m extremely cautious when expected to push buttons and make things happen – ask anyone who has allowed me to use their in-house presentation equipment!

I only have one speed when texting – very slow!

Neal’s arrival at TLC nearly two years ago has partly dragged me into the modern day and I have to admit I’m now an avid member of LinkedIn, but Facebook and Twitter – never in a million years!

I’m pretty sure if I Tweeted I get myself in trouble quite quickly. Must be the Joey Barton in me!

So I was fascinated, but not surprised when an article about social media failing to lure shoppers appeared on the DMA website last week.

Like my old pal Andy Owen has said many times, the content of many TV ads is a mystery and quite what they do for the brand is debatable. It can take me until the very end of the commercial to sometimes even remotely understand what is actually being promoted!

Facebook & FMCG

So why would people be interested in following some brands on Facebook?

I conducted some research on TV the other night, looking at brands inviting me to join them on Facebook.

If I’ve got a cold and think one proprietary brand or another may aid my recovery, I might think about buying the product. But why would I want to join their Facebook page? Its an occasional purchase, so why do I need to be in contact with them all year round?

Similarly, if we are due visitors and my wife Annette demands the house has a spring clean (at any time of the year!), using the favourite sink cleaner, loo freshener and/or floor washing product is a given, but why would you want to Facebook them?

I don’t know if I’m missing a trick by not being a member of Facebook and I’d be interested to hear from somebody with perhaps more knowledge than me about how this works and benefits the brand, but I’ve asked around some fmcg clients we worked with in 2011 and I’m not getting a huge amount of positive feedback.

Door drop couponing activity we completed for a couple of clients recently exceeded expectations in terms of coupon redemption, so was a considerable success as far as the clients and agencies are concerned, but the Facebook competitions included in each promotion bombed on both occasions.

I’ve seen plenty of postings recently which suggest that “liking” a brand or being a “friend” does not necessarily do anything for actual sales of the brand, so what’s the point?

Drayton Bird, the DM guru, continually warns against the dangers of marketers being seduced by “the magic” of online and social media and if you have read the fast.MAP Marketing Gap survey there are some scary results in there, where marketers predictions of how consumers act or respond are so wide of the mark its frightening.

So where does all of this lead us?

like door drop discounts.What I do know is that there is a real thirst amongst consumers for vouchers and that discount offers or putting something tangible in their hands will stimulate coupon redemption and product trial – and they just pick it up from the doormat!

Just how many of them want a Facebook relationship?

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This article was written by...

– who has written 86 posts on Letterbox Consultancy for Door Drop Marketing.

Graham Dodd is the founder of The Letterbox Consultancy - he has over 40 years of experience in the door drop industry and remains at the forefront of innovation in the business.

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