P&G Social Media Night: The Results

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

The results are in.  And the collective effort of the four teams partipating in P&G's digital night sold 3,000 Loads of Hope t-shirts and raised $50,000 for charity.  Tide actually matched the money raised, putting the total disaster relief donation to $100,000 for four hours of effort. Thank you to all who bought t-shirts!

If you are just tuning in, Forrester analysts Lisa Bradner, Sucharita Mulpuru and I participated in a P&G-organized event with about 150 digital media experts this past Wednesday focused on understanding how digital media, social networking and word of mouth could drive site traffic and sell product (in this case, vintage Tide t-shirts which raise money for disaster victims.)

While the activity driven by this event was intense, I return to some of my former cynacism about social media (sorry, Jeremiah).  Here are the marketing lessons I learned from this experiment:

*WOM still doesn't have the reach of more mainstream (and dare I say, traditional) channels.  Don't get me wrong here.  I was jazzed about how quickly we created buzz (and sales) on Wednesday night.  But then I got to thinking.  We had some of the biggest social media powerhouses out there (David Armano, Pete Kim, Deb Schultz, Pete Blackshaw) pushing this initiative hard to their network and we only sold 3000 shirts.  When I started translating this into pallets of product I suddently realized that the total audience we had reached was quite small.

*WOM drives site traffic, but the on-site experience closes the deal.  Conversion rates across the four teams hovered right around 7% -- which according to Sucharita is really good for retail sites.  But I couldn't help feeling that conversion should be much higher.  All of the traffic coming online to buy was coming in response to a direct personal reference.  So presumably, they were an audience more qualified than your typical site visitor.  If we had been able to prevent site errors, limit the amount of information required from users at purchase, even merchandised the t-shirts on the site a bit we would have made more good out of our site traffic. 

*The big deals were relationship sales.  My team sold a lot of onesies and twosies, but what really moved our dashboard were a few 50 and 100 t-shirt sales.  And these deals were made personally through phone calls to contacts who might need matching shirts in volume for teams, schools, work groups -- not through digital/online outreach.

Overall, the experiment was definitely a succesful way to feel the power of social media.  My conclusion?  Social media is still young and best used only in tandem with other interactive and traditional tools to drive engagement around brands or issues.


re: P&G Social Media Night: The Results

I heard there were big issues with the event

re: P&G Social Media Night: The Results

shan, i am glad you have returned to your old cynical self. analysts should be removed from the hyperbole that we digital marketers can be guilty of.for my part, i commend P&G for educating their brand teams in such a hands on fashion. i commend the charitable donations and i commend the energy and zeal that the social media talking heads threw themselves into the challenge.if this has proved anything, it is that marketers marketing to marketers based on their personal following (of other marketers) is not a scalable or viable approach.i would have loved this to have been a week or month long exercise so we could see the way traditional (earned) media - i.e. PR - can really move the needle. the best campaigns are integrated, truly integrated, campaigns with social media being just one (important) channel.on another note, i think that we can also sleep soundly knowing that the world will not be taken over by social media consultants, based on the sales numbers of digital hack night.all that being said, it sounds like it would have been a lot of fun!ed

re: P&G Social Media Night: The Results

I think pushing a product like this- (a "not for profit" and for a cause that is close to people's hearts)is quite different from actual product sales.It looks like an exercise in hard sell using references- and if that is the case- Amway and Tupperware have been doing this stuff for ages. Only they sell commercial stuff and the seller has a clear profit motive.Also, IMHO creating a one time hype is easier than developing a consistent go to market approach.But I agree with you - and this is a lesson that us self obsessed digital marketers need to take home- when it comes to marketing, every channel has its role to play.It is evident that if a consistent approach was designed with all media used effectively together- including paid media, this could have worked better.But still, it would be great if this truth could be tangibalized with another experiment involving all media. It would also give a clear and solid reasoning that paid media returns increase when used in tandem with what I call "Social Reference Marketing"Shalabhhttp://www.chasingthestorm.com

re: P&G Social Media Night: The Results

Thanks Shar, go ahead and challenge the new media, it's what's needed, good assessment.I'd have to say however that I've not seen a tremendous amount of case studies that show that pushing product in a short period of time is a good way to do social marketing.In fact, we often encourage brands to develop longer term relationships with their communities, but first find the influencers where there is editorial alignment.The bloggers that this program reached to aren't really those that are frequently connected to a disaster audience.What's a way that it could have been done better? What if there was a way for communities that focus on disaster could submit ideas on how to help victims receive fresh clothing? The top 5 winning submissions based on community votes (a widget could be spread with the ideas and have voting capability) among the community, and the top 5 voted ideas would receive some type of funding from Tide.So while the learnings were probably great for the P&G teams, I'd question if the right community was found for this to be successful, and if the right approach was done.We agree, in most cases, social media works better as an 'overlay' and is integrated, not a standalone silo.