Be useful, cut out ‘marketing landfill’, Made by Many tells Abta convention

Creating products people want rather than marketing messages no-one wants is the key to successfully engaging the social web.

Former Expedia head of social media Peter Parkes, now strategist at independent London-based agency Made by Many, said there is too much “marketing landfill” on the web.

Speaking at a marketing masterclass at last week’s Abta Travel Convention in Turkey he described this as “communication no-one wants trying to flog stuff no-one wants”.

“Putting more shit in more places is a common mistake in marketing terms,” said Parkes who dubbed this ‘weaponised spam’.

“People tend to treat the internet as a media space, a massive clickable bit of offline traditional media.

“When people talk about social media it rings a lot of alarm bells. We prefer talking about the social web – technology that serves the way people live every day.

“Making stuff people want beats making people want stuff. We try to help clients build things that people use every single day.”

Parkes said becoming an essential to people’s lives, possibly through the development of an app or even an associated product is the way to build trust and loyalty.

He used the Nike+ FuelBand, which allows wearers to track their fitness programme, as an example as a new marketing product people buy but which is essentially about selling more Nike trainers.

Travel is a very social experience, said Parkes. “Even on the most mundane business trip you are likely to meet someone. Travel sits at this alignment of people, space and time.”

However he told delegates he has yet to see a good example of anyone using social media network like Facebook as a customer acquisition tool.

“Instead of investing in social media you should be investing in the social web, in technology that makes people’s lives better,” Parkes said.

He added that this new way of working may require a restructuring of marketing departments but that the required skills in product, service and design were probably already within any business.

“Work in a way that’s incremental, develop things that are useful, do things that are more akin to a start-up.

“If people are scared about working in this way convince then you can do it within weeks. The technology is now within your hands.”

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