A couple days ago, I ran across some interesting news about Twitter. Dell informed Internet News that they generated over a million dollars because of marketing and promotions via Twitter. Dell would simply offer sales alerts, and their followers would click over, and purchase the items. Some may argue that a million bucks to a multi-national corporation is pennies, but what is missed in this analysis is the fact that they are engaging an audience, providing value, and doing something big companies have a problem doing, grass-roots marketing. Seth Godin, a highly respected pundit on Internet marketing, misses the point in his blog post where he minimizes the significance of this Dell feat, by saying that:
Did the phone company make Dell a billion dollars? Just because people used the phone to order their Dell doesn’t mean that the phone was a marketing medium. It was a connecting medium. Big difference.
Twitter is becoming an indespensible marketing tool to engage a defined community and offer them products and services to keep them involved in the brand. Brands are utilizing the social networking tool for customer service, promotions, discounts, and general news and information. It’s the perfect opt-in scenario, but with the added benefits of buildling a community, something that’s less likely to occur with your typical text message/e-mail campaign. Because you can view it on the web, it’s less intrusive then getting ordinary text message alerts and you can directly act on marketing message and coupons, something that had always been difficult to do with ordinary text message campaigns, which has never taken off despite all the hype.
Although I have been extremely critical of Twitter in the past, I have been amazed how quickly their team has shored up its shortcomings, something that’s difficult to do, especially with their traffic levels. To me, there is one central business model that they need to utilize: analytics/brand management. Yes, they can put in advertising, but how fun would that be? Online ads aren’t exactly doing well these days, and who wants intrusive messages, when the rise to prominence for brands is through the opt-in nature of the platform? Give me statistics so I can see how my brand is dissimenated around the Twitter community. Let me know how many times my links have been clicked, and let me see how many has translated to sales. I want to know how my brand compares to other in my vertical. I want to get text alerts whenever my brand is commented on, so that I can directly comment on it through my tweets, connecting Twitter Search/Summize to my Twitter feed. Like Bob Ryan states in my favorite show, Entourage, “Is that something you might be interested in?”
If you want to learn more about Twitter, please buy the Twitter Survival Guide here.