Social Media Marketing and Lemonade Stands

Ice cold lemonadeI get called “Big D” sometimes and I like to flatter myself that it is because I like to think big, however, I can’t pretend that my 270 pound, “more of me to love” frame might not have a little to do with that nickname.  So big guy, what’s your point? Well as an XXL type I’ve learned to distrust the one-size-fits-all approach in clothing and frankly, just about everything else.

I think there is one-size-fits-all epidemic in social media marketing.  There are too many experts and enthusiasts pitching solutions without regard to your business needs. I’ve got nothing against e-books, teleseminars, and online courses, but I get nervous when someone is advising that you do what they do and then point to things like numbers of Twitter followers or extensive lists of “friends” as proof of their effectiveness.  Truth is they might very well be effective at what THEY do, but unless you do what they do it may be a moot point.  Worse it can sometimes be harmful to approach your market with tactics that are out of alignment with you brand, products and services.

The point is different businesses work different ways, and the marketing that makes a success of one might make a flop of another.  Here in Atlanta it can get hot – it’s in the 60s in December today, and in July… forget about it! When it’s hot a big guy like me likes to have a little lemonade to cool off. Atlanta is a great town for a lemonade stand. Pick a busy corner, put up your stand, set your price and keep your inventory in step with demand.  The marketing approach is simple, easy to break down into component steps and therefore a very reproducible model.  You could extend it to fruit punch or sweet iced tea, however it is a lousy platform for selling enterprise software.  It’s hard to pitch 3 months of integration while sweating in the open air.  It flops for selling shoes – not enough shelves, too hard to relocate with changes in traffic patterns.  You get the idea.

If you’re enticed to jump in on the program of a social media marketer ask yourself if the one-size-fits-all formula they are promoting applies well to the services you provide. Are you in a similar price range? Are you prepared to apply all of their tactics? Are your purchase decisions made on an equivalent timetable? Are the ongoing relationships with your customers and prospects the same type of relationships that they are cultivating? Are their multi-level approvals/buy-in required to get the win?  Or can you just mix up a cold batch of product and sell it by the glass?

If the answers to these questions don’t line up well with the formula being offered, then you may be buying into magic beans – strained trust, wasted time and brand damage, not a recipe for effective marketing.

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