In the 2023 CMO survey, 17% of marketing budgets are spent on social media and this is expected to increase to 20% this year. With increased spending, it is more important than ever to ensure you are spending that money effectively and efficiently. Placing the wrong content on the wrong platforms can be like showing up to a track meet with dress shoes or a wedding in track spikes.
What does the wrong content look like?
Let’s say you’re an apparel company and your audience believes your brand is out of style. You won’t convince them with Tweets about quality materials. High quality images of your new styles on Instagram and collabs with fashion influencers on TikTok would be a better fit. Yet a Twitter post sharing stats and facts about climate change could be good for a nonprofit cause that supports the environment.
When considering social media platforms, think about the kinds of content that will work best and the platforms ideal for that type of content. A good way to think this through is to first answer these three key questions about your target audience:
What does the target audience currently think?
What would we like the target audience to think?
What visual/verbal message will move them from one to the other?
Why is the right place, for the right people important?
Getting the right content in front of the right audience at the right place is key. People go to different platforms for different reasons and may be in different stages of the buyer’s journey. You don’t want to squeeze a longer how-to video for current customers into a short Facebook video trying to attract new ones. Current customers would be searching for tutorials on YouTube.
Also, consider that different target audiences spend more and less time on different platforms and different products and services require different content. A gum brand like Orbit doesn’t need a tutorial or testimony, but for a business software service company like IBM tutorials and testimonials work. Each requires specific types of content to shift thinking.
How do I plan out the right content for the right platform?
The social media content planning template below considers different types of businesses or industries such as finance or fashion that tend to require different types of content.
First, decide your industry sector or category. Research and list the types of content customers in that industry market tend to seek. You can do this with consumer reports from market research firms like Mintel, conduct your own surveys, or simply talk to current customers and/or your front end employees and salespeople. They are the closest to your customer’s questions and needs.
Next, consider that your target audience may also need to see different types of content based on the stage in the buyer’s journey. Take your long list of content ideas and categorize by buyer’s journey stage:
Finally, consider the type of content appropriate for your industry, ideal customer, and stage. Keep in mind the following categories of types of social media content:
This social media content planning template presents what we just discussed with example types of content under each category to help jump start your thinking.
A social media content planning template can help you brainstorm content for your client, company, or organization based on the industry and content needed in the buyer journey stages.
This could be especially useful after conducting a social media audit. To turn audit recommendations into a social media plan, use the content planning template above to brainstorm types of content for the most effective and efficient social media.
Does the shoe fit when it comes to your social media marketing content and platforms in 2023?
It’s hard not to get caught up in the hype of social media. As marketers, we love shiny new objects. When something new comes along we feel we and our brands must jump in or get left behind. FOMO is real.
We also tend to not want to let go of things of the past. If we’re not careful we end up with a budget and resources stretched thin between new platforms and old ones as the list of social icons on our websites and our profiles grows. Slowly some or much of our social media may be missing the mark.
Being An Early Adopter Has Its Benefits.
Jumping into a new social platform can have benefits such as growing an early following before the platform becomes too crowded and becoming known as an expert. That can pay off professionally for personal branding or for company brands such as The Chicago Bulls who were one of the first pro teams on TikTok. But social platforms can also rise quickly like Meerkat and Clubhouse only to go out just as fast.
It’s important to note that the Bulls were early adopters of TikTok, but they didn’t jump in with their previous message, content, and audience. They first took time to make a strategic decision to invest in a new target audience with content relevant to that audience and the platform. Instead of a Bulls brand account aimed at current fans, it was team mascot Benny The Bull’s TikTok to draw younger new fans.
Win On Paper Before Going To Battle.
Marketing icon Philip Kotler says, “You should never go to battle before you’ve won the war on paper.” First, know or remind yourself of your strategy. What are your main goals? Who is your main target market? What are the key insights you know about them? What main action do you want them to do? What is your main message or idea?
Armed with your marketing objectives, target audience, key consumer insights, and brand message/idea select the optimal social channels to implement your social media strategy. Think of each social channel as a well-placed source to launch or continue a social media plan in the right direction.
Research key social platforms collecting descriptions of the central characteristics (size, content, users, and ad options). Also, consider organizing them in categories such as social networks, blogs, microblogs, media sharing, social bookmarking/knowledge, ratings and reviews to determine the channels of your social strategy.
To gain full appreciation join the platforms as a user and become a firsthand witness to the unique social experience. Think of each as a current or potential brand community and ask some key questions.
For each social media platform ask:
What benefit do users get from being part of the current brand community?
What are the benefits of joining a new brand community on this platform?
How’s the brand community on this platform unique from other platforms?
Right Message, Right People, Right Environment.
Keep marketing objectives, target audience, consumer insights and main message/idea in mind. Look for the ideal channels to deliver brand messages and engage the target audience to convey the right message to the right people in the right environment.
Avoid wasted effort chasing every new social platform or assuming the biggest is the best. Add new channels that make sense for the content and consumer while leaving behind social platforms that may not be serving a strategic purpose. A social media audit is a great tool to help with this pruning.
Consider these questions for each platform:
How active is our target audience on this platform?
How will we communicate our message big idea on this platform?
What do we want them to do on this platform?
Remember that a social platform is not the right choice simply because it has the most users. Social media has matured. Most people today have multiple social media accounts and different groups of people are active at various levels on different platforms for different reasons.
It also depends on what you are trying to accomplish—your marketing objectives. Is the social platform’s environment right for the brand, message and cal to action?
Select Social Platforms Based On Content Fit.
When considering social media platforms, think about the kinds of content that will work best and the platforms ideal for that type of content. Those who are familiar with industry standard creative briefs will recognize the usefulness of considering the three questions below.
Determine your content message by asking:
What does the target audience currently think?
What would we like the target audience to think?
What will move them from one to the other? (big idea/main message)
The big idea and main message are what you need to get in front of your target audience. That may require specific types of content to shift their thinking.
If you’re an apparel company and your audience believes your brand is out of style, you won’t convince them with Tweets about quality materials. High quality images of your new styles on Instagram and collaborations with fashion influencers on TikTok would be a better fit. Yet a Twitter post sharing stats and facts could be good for a nonprofit cause.
Too many social icons clogging up your profile or website?
Social media bloat can tighten your resources and get in the way of achieving your goals. If you’re not talking to the right people on the right platforms with the right content and message, you won’t be efficient or effective. Is it time to review your strategy and let the air out of some social platforms?
We’re going in on digital. If anyone doesn’t want to learn the Internet, pack up your desk and leave.
We heard this from the president of our ad agency during a Monday morning employee meeting. This may not be scary today when 65% of all ad spending is digital. But in the late-2000s it caused worry. Why?
As a mid-career advertising copywriter, I built my expertise on traditional mass media ads. I instinctively wrote print ads, billboards, 30-second TV scripts, and 60-second radio ads. That’s what I learned in undergrad, at Portfolio Center, and what I had created for 10 years. I honed my skills and was good at them. My campaigns with art directors helped clients meet sales objectives and won creative awards.
The Internet Experiment
I still remember that feeling. For us who built our careers on mass media ads, it was like the rug was pulled out from under our feet. Did I spend all those years in school and years fine tuning my craft only to be replaced by Internet experts? Would they need us traditional ad copywriters anymore? I remember Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, known for creative traditional ads, announced they were no longer an ad agency – they’re a digital agency. Advertising Age even ran an article with a subhead, “The Advertising Age Is Over.”
What did I do that Monday morning? I looked at a picture of my wife and kids on my desk. I needed the job and income, and decided to learn Internet marketing. I did and created many successful digital and social efforts for clients including PRSA social media word-of-mouth awards and OMMA online media marketing and advertising awards. Today I’m a professor, researcher, and author of digital and social media marketing. By 2017 AdAge ran another article, “Desktop and Mobile Ad Revenue Surpasses TV For The First Time.”
I concluded that human-written articles do offer benefits beyond A.I. We form connections and develop bonds you don’t feel from a chatbot. Having a chatbot create your content can’t replace the rewards of learning on your own and developing your voice and unique perspective. Writing and creating are learning. That anxious feeling subsided.
ChatGPT Experiment Two
Then the editor of our student magazine approached me with an idea. He wanted ChatGPT to complete a class assignment. I convinced myself I could do better writing on my blog, but what about a student report? If ChatGPT could do it why am I needed as a professor? There was that feeling of the rug being pulled out again.
Create A Situation Analysis for Spotify
For Marketing Principles, a key assignment is to write a situation analysis for a company. Students select the company with stipulations to ensure they’re accessing the kind of data that professional markers use to create their marketing strategies. Our university has databases such as Mintel and Statista so students can learn more by doing. Below is a general description:
Select a US product/service you’re interested in and conduct a situation analysis on the current marketing environment. Write an introduction, access a Mintel report (define the market, describe key trends, select one company in the market), assess the internal environment, assess the external environment, create a SWOT summary graphic, create marketing objectives (following SMART guidelines), a value proposition, and a conclusion. Use APA format with all sources cited in APA Style.
He instructed ChatGPT to write a situation analysis for a company in the streaming audio market in APA style and gave it my specific requirements. ChatGPT chose Spotify.
For the introduction, ChatGPT wrote:
From this intro., it sounds like ChatGPT is accessing the right data and understands the purpose of the report and assignment.
Access Mintel Market Report
While what ChatGPT said is true, I would look for more in a student report. I ask them to summarize some of the latest trends that would be important to form a marketing strategy. According to the latest Mintel report “Streaming Audio – US – 2022,” there is more a marketer would need to know. Even the first paragraph of Mintel’s report highlights trends in the market that may influence Spotify’s marketing strategy:
2/3rds of customers want help choosing what to listen to via curated content.
Exclusive/early access to new music, podcasts, audiobooks can differentiate.
62% of adults try to support services that fairly compensate artists and creators.
For the internal environment, ChatGPT did a good job pulling the company mission statement from its website and describing the basic service. It even provided what looks to be an APA citation:
Spotify was founded in 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden, and has since become a leading global streaming audio platform. The company’s mission is to “unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by it” (Spotify, n.d.). Spotify’s primary product is its music streaming service, which is available to users on desktop and mobile devices, as well as through connected devices such as smart speakers.
ChatGPT does go on to provide some marketing performance numbers:
Spotify has over 365 million monthly active users, including 165 million premium subscribers (Statista, 2021).
The first number seems accurate, but there are more current numbers as of Q4 2022 from Statista of 489 million monthly active users (MAUs) and 205 million premium subscribers. I would expect students to find the latest data. A 124 million, 34% increase for MAUs and 40 million, 24% increase for premium subscribers is significant.
Then ChatGPT reports a revenue number:
The company has experienced significant growth in revenue, with a 16% increase in 2020 to $7.88 billion (Spotify, 2021).
The revenue number looks correct until you do some research and find the number is in euros, not US dollars. Spotify is a European company, but the assignment is to focus on the US market. To report revenue with a US dollar sign, which ChatGPT did, it should be around $8.47 billion. I also found a more recent 2022 revenue number of 11.72 billion euros or roughly $12.41 billion US dollars. The conversion difference is $59 million, the date difference is nearly $3.94 billion.
Lastly, under the internal environment, ChatGPT names Spotify’s main competitors:
However, Spotify faces challenges from competitors such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Pandora.
This sounds reasonable, but in Mintel’s report a graph shows Spotify’s close competitors as (1.) YouTube Music and (2.) Pandora. Because ChatGPT isn’t using real citations it’s hard to know where it got this and how old it is. Understanding current competitors is important to any strategy.
For external environment, ChatGPT wrote:
Political, legal, and economic factors impacting Spotify’s marketing performance include issues related to copyright law and licensing agreements, as well as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the music industry. Demographic, social, and cultural factors impacting Spotify include changing music consumption habits and the increasing popularity of podcasts. Technological factors include the development of new platforms for streaming audio, as well as advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning that are used to make personalized recommendations.
This is a good general list of issues that may affect Spotify and the streaming audio market, but there are no details that could turn into insights actionable in a marketing strategy. COVID-19 impacted the music industry, like all industries, but how? Mintel’s report explains how and indicates its negative impact was less than expected:
Growth slowed, but people found ways to listen to favorite music and podcasts.
The low barrier to publishing helped artists publish even from home.
An important external factor missing from ChatGPT’s list is inflation – something Spotify needs to consider for product, pricing, and promotion strategies. The Mintel Report warns that high inflation of 8-9% in the past year could lower household spending on streaming audio with a large percentage of adults worried about rising prices.
The next requirement was to summarize what was found in a SWOT graphic of internal strengths and weaknesses, plus external opportunities, and threats.
SWOT Summary Graphic
Below is what ChatGPT provided:
The SWOT analysis for Spotify is presented in the figure below.
Obviously, it didn’t draw the graphic. I am not sure what it tried to access from Imgur.com. If It did find a Spotify SWOT from Imgur it wouldn’t meet my requirements. That would be someone else’s SWOT based on their opinion and data, not a summary of what the student found in their situation analysis.
Next, ChatGPT wrote a marketing objective:
To continue its growth in revenue and premium subscribers, Spotify should set the following marketing objective: “Increase premium subscribers by 20% over the next marketing budget year, from 165 million to 198 million, through targeted marketing campaigns and promotions.”
This objective meets some SMART guidelines. It’s specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound. But it’s not relevant since there’s more recent data. They’ve surpassed this revenue objective.
I would also coach students about using global numbers versus market-specific numbers. Typically, marketers set objectives for different markets like the US or North America vs. Europe to set unique marketing plans for each. From Statista 28% of Spotify’s premium subscribers are from North America (57.4 million), from which you could set a more accurate marketing objective.
My bigger apprehension about ChatGPT’s marketing objective it might not be right based on what we learned from Mintel about concern over inflation. If most people are worried about rising prices can Spotify convince 33 million more people to add a premium subscription while not losing any existing premium subscribers?
A revenue or market share objective may be better to grow all users promoting free and premium accounts. Spotify makes advertising revenue from free accounts. You don’t want a loss to competitors. This would depend on what we find out about the main competitor(s) and what they are offering, which ChatGPT didn’t described.
For the value proposition, ChatGPT wrote:
Spotify’s value proposition is based on its ability to provide users with a comprehensive library of music and audio content, delivered through a user-friendly platform that enables easy discovery and sharing. With a focus on user engagement and social sharing, Spotify encourages loyalty and helps users discover new music and artists that fit their tastes, while also providing access to popular hits and classic tracks.
At first, this sounds like a good value prop. But it’s more a general product description that could apply to any competitor in the streaming audio market. From a student, I’d look for a more nuanced understanding of the current market, consumer trends, and competitors. The value proposition should take into consideration Spotify’s unique place in the market in comparison to what competitors are offering and what consumers are currently looking for.
This was ChatGPT’s conclusion:
In conclusion, Spotify is well-positioned to continue to succeed in the rapidly growing streaming audio market, despite facing challenges from competitors and changing market trends. Developing effective marketing strategies and objectives is critical for Spotify to maintain its position as a leader in the industry. By leveraging its unique value proposition and focusing on key marketing metrics, such as premium subscriber growth, Spotify can continue to drive revenue and capture market share.
This sounds like a good conclusion, but there’s no real understanding of the current streaming audio market. It makes it sound so easy! Yet, if marketers relied on past/current offerings and never made adjustments based on changing market conditions, consumer trends, and competitor actions they wouldn’t be well-positioned to continue to succeed.
It hasn’t provided the references to the multiple Statista data with URL links. The required Mintel market report is missing. ChatGPT seems to be mimicking some aspects of APA citation but missing a lot.
My Overall Assessment?
This report looks into the past, describes Spotify as is, sets a higher premium subscriber number, and says keep doing what you’re doing to succeed! There’s no real understanding. It feels like a collection of incomplete facts organized into categories and written to sound like a person talking. I wouldn’t base my marketing strategy on it! If a student was hired into the marketing department at Spotify and their manager asked them to submit a situation analysis, I would not want them submitting this.
From my experience so far ChatGPT answers lack human nuance, insight, and refinement. Plus, if ChatGPT can answer it alone, why would a company, client, or audience need you? That’s what we all need to figure out. ChatGPT can be a great tool to jumpstart your thinking, but what are you good at that ChatGPT can’t do?
What Am I Good At?
Back in the late 2000s, I found the answer in Teressa Iezzi’s book The Idea Writers. She reminded copywriters and art directors (creators) that we weren’t experts at traditional ads. We were really writers and designers of ideas that connect brands to consumers no matter the tool. We’re experts in human truths and crafting stories that connect with target audiences through emotion to meet marketing objectives.
I could have had ChatGPT write this entire article, but I don’t think it would have the same relevance, reach, and resonance. Can you relate to the feelings I’ve had (in my past and current career)? How’s your anxiety over ChatGPT as a writer, designer, creator, marketer, student, or professor?
There has been a lot of hype over the metaverse. A Google search of the term metaverse returns 189 million results. The company that owns two of the largest social media networks in the world even changed its name from Facebook to Meta in 2021. Yet the metaverse may not be living up to the hype.
Early reports indicate Meta’s Horizon Worlds isn’t meeting expectations. A year old in December 2022, Horizon Worlds has just 200,000 monthly active users, below Meta’s goal of 280,000 from an already lowered initial projection of 500,000. Simply building a virtual world without a special interest, unique selling point, or target community is a challenge.
We should have learned this lesson from the hype over Second Life in 2007 when big brands invested heavily in virtual real estate. Back then founder Philip Rosedale proclaimed, “The 3D web will rapidly be the dominant thing and everyone will have an avatar.”
After 19 years Second Life hasn’t built a mass virtual world but does have 1 million monthly active niche users. It also has graphics that seem to look better than Horizon Worlds. Second Life is also free to join via the web – you pay to own land. Living in Horizon World first requires purchasing $400 Meta owned Oculus headsets and downloading the app.
If you build it (the metaverse) they (mass audiences) may not come.Business Insider reports that only 9% of the worlds built Horizon Worlds are visited by 50 users or more. Most users abandon the platform in the first month, and over half of the VR headsets are out of use within six months.
This doesn’t mean that the metaverse isn’t relevant to marketers. It just isn’t a mass media play. There are already existing metaverse niche communities out there. Remember that Facebook’s platform of nearly 3 billion monthly active global users was not created overnight. It also started with a niche audience of U.S. college students.
You don’t need Horizon Worlds to engage in the metaverse. Most of the existing, populated, and active metaverses are game-based browser virtual worlds such as Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, Avankin Life, IMNU, and, of course, Second Life. These 3D virtual worlds have been around for at least five years with many existing for a decade or longer.
Below is an amazing infographic of the existing metaverse by Nic Mitham of Metaversed Consulting created in part from data from W. James Au at New World Notes. As you can see in the MAU’s below, you don’t need to wait for Horizon Worlds to take off to experiment with metaverse marketing.
How are brands using the metaverse for marketing?Vans partnered with Roblox to create a virtual interactive skate park, Vans World. It allowed Roblox users to virtually visit skate parks with friends earning points through game play to spend on virtual Vans sneakers and apparel and to build customized skateboards in a virtual skate shop. Vans World attracted over 48 million visitors in a couple of months.
Nike created Nikeland metaverse in Roblox. In a couple of months, 7 million visited Nikeland to enjoy brand experiences, such as celebrity appearances by LeBron James, games with rewards, and ownership of their own “yard” or personal space to show off their collectibles. Exclusive branded digital products can also be worn on fans’ avatars around Roblox environments to create digital brand ambassadors.
With these examples, keep in mind that 54% of Roblox users are under 12 years old and just 14% are over 25 years old. These demographics may match Vans’ and Nike’s target audience, but probably don’t fit with many marketers’ target customers. Package goods like Tide don’t need to be creating Tideland virtual Roblox laundry rooms to engage fans and sell more detergent.
Dip your toe in the metaverse with “phygital” experiences. Other brands have created merged digital and real-life experiences through the metaverse. During New York Fashion Week Puma launched an integrated physical and digital experience called “Black Station.” Visitors to the website interacted with the brand’s Fashion Week show as if they were there in person. Digital exhibits featured 3D sneakers and NFT holders could redeem tokens for physical pairs of shoes.
Phygital marketing blends digital metaverse and physical real-life brand experiences. Instead of jumping completely into the virtual world, phygital combines the physical and digital experiences that consumers may be more comfortable with including AR/VR and 3D modeling or metaverse experiences that reflect a physical one.
Some of these hybrid experiences are happening on Decentraland. Dentraland is a newer 3D browser-based virtual world built on NFTs and cryptocurrency. Samsung’s New York flagship store had a physical sustainability fashion show that was simultaneously created in the brand’s metaverse space in Decentraland. This is called a “simuverse” experience. Simulverse is when a physical event is simultaneously played out in the metaverse.
Another phygital strategy is “twinning.” Twinning is crafting digital experiences that mimic a physical one, or vice versa. An example of twinning is when Gucci created physical figurines of its “SuperGucci” NFTs. Or Prada which added NFTs to its limited-edition physical clothes.
A related strategy is “tokenization.” Tokenization is when physical items are reformatted into NFTs on a blockchain. Tommy Hilfiger created NFTs of luxury and exclusive physical merchandise on the Boston Portal marketplace in Decentraland. Their release was timed with the physical world fashion week but hosted in the fashion district of this 3D virtual world.
The bottom line for marketers? The metaverse isn’t mainstream and may never be, at least in the next several years. Instead of going all in, go partially in with “phygital” experiences and by reaching relevant niche audiences in existing virtual worlds. Simply building a brand experience in Horizon Worlds will not make your customers come.
If your target audience is already active in a metaverse then go where they are spending time. This is the same strategy for selecting social media platforms. First, define your marketing objectives and your target audience. Then look at user demographics and psychographics of metaverse platforms searching for a match. Also, go beyond monthly active users (MAUs) and search for daily active user (DAUs) data.
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The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.