Saturday, June 18, 2011

Social media insights from the 60's

Social media is anything but new. Social engagement, social sharing and even social media marketing have been in existence long before Mark Zuckerberg built Facebook and Reid Hoffman launched LinkedIn.

Back in 1966(!), Ernest Dichter, the "father of motivational research", conducted a large study of word of mouth. One of the questions he looked at is what's driving people to communicate about brands. He identified four motivations:
  1. A product delivers an outstanding experience that must be shared
  2. An individual wants to gain attention or assert superiority
  3. A person wants to express neighborliness, caring, and friendship
  4. A message is so humorous or informative that it deserves sharing
Dichter's findings from almost 50 years ago still hold true. The underlying concept of social media hasn't changed. What the Internet and social media tools allowed us to do is take an age long practice and scale it almost infinitely.

The research brings up another important point that I discussed in this blog. The product is the most important ingredient in the marketing strategy.

Witty social media campaigns, snazzy web sites and even good content will not compensate for a bad product...