Who knew? When, “Anchorman” star Will Ferrell made a surprise Saturday, Nov. 30 appearance with anchor Amber Schatz on KX News in western North Dakota, who knew what a buzz it would create in the marketing world or how it would illustrate the power of social media as a marketing tool?
Savvy marketers who understand the convergence of “pull” marketing and social media ~ that’s who.
Traditional marketing strategies place a lot of emphasize on “push” marketing in which a seller takes the product to the customer by, for example, point-of-purchase displays or direct showroom sales. With pull marketing, however, the customer comes to the seller via tactics such as mass media promotion or word-of-mouth referrals.
Enter movie icon Ron Burgundy. Paramount Pictures placed a fictional character in a real-life setting. Art, after all, does imitate life … or is it the other way around? This altered reality did exactly what Paramount had intended. Word-of-mouth messaging – or pull marketing – through social media resulted in Ferrell’s appearance in a relatively small market becoming an overnight hit nationwide.
“This is the perfect example of push versus pull marketing,” said Stephanie Schoenrock, KK BOLD director of account services. “The marketing playing field is changing, and the best marketing plans take into account the importance of pull-marketing techniques. Consumers are resistant to being talked to through traditional push marketing. We have to get beyond those barriers if we want them to engage with our brand.
“In this case, consumers were telling the story, inviting Facebook friends to watch, leaving people who didn’t see the newscast feeling like they missed out. ‘Anchorman 2’ did it right,” Schoenrock said.
“Within minutes, more than half of the posts on my Facebook feed were featuring our local newscast,” said LaRoy Kingsley, KK BOLD president. “Within hours, it was a national hit. By the next day, dozens of major news organizations were running stories about it. So, can your business or organization do something this spectacular as part of your ad campaign or promotion? Certainly, but with the understanding that ‘spectacular’ doesn’t need to mean national attention. Just getting that type of results in your primary market is a success.
“The key, of course, is in the planning. Even though these things look and feel spontaneous, dozens of ideas and options are explored. Logistics are debated and worked on. Then the actual execution has to be flawless. In the end, is it worth it? In this case, without a doubt, the publicity and word of mouth it generated were well worth the investment,” Kingsley said.
“The challenge of social media as a marketing tool is that you turn over some control to the public,” said Stephanie Sandstrom, KK BOLD social media director. “In the world of Facebook and Twitter and YouTube, users get to decide what’s good and what’s not. That underscores the importance of creating a compelling message and communicating it in a manner so powerful others will want to share it for you.
“The social media marketing strategy used to promote ‘Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues’ can be applied to the promotion of virtually any product or service,” Sandstrom said. “Social media has gone mainstream. Not long ago, it was seen more as an add-on to traditional marketing campaigns. Now an expertly developed social media campaign can be a cost-effective centerpiece of just about any marketing effort.”
Effectiveness of the “Anchorman 2” social media campaign is yet to be seen. One thing is for sure, though, it has focused attention on the way pull marketing and social media marketing can – and should – be integrated into your next marketing effort.