The One Feature Facebook Needs to Create the Killer Marketing App
Facebook has the potential to become the “marketing platform of the decade” used by all types of organizations (e.g., small business, enterprise, non-profits) to engage their customers:
- At over 800 million members, it has the widest reach of any network in history (i.e., nearly all of your customers are on Facebook). Facebook Connect lets you tap this network in one click.
- Just as important, Facebook has become ubiquitous in people’s lives. Uses spend more time on Facebook than the next four most popular domains combined (i.e., Facebook is the fastest way to share a message with your customers).
- Best of all, the network effect of Facebook incentivizes people to use true information for identification (i.e., Facebook combines the accuracy of “traditional” paid subscription direct marketing data with the timeliness of online interaction.)
- Finally, Facebook provides organizations easy-to-use tools to set up pages, access customer data, and analyze trends (i.e., tools good enough to potentially displace many enterprise solutions for campaign management and CRM analytics).
The One Feature Holding Back Marketing Platform Dominance
This four-way combination should make Facebook the dominant marketing platform – for small businesses, large enterprises, and non-profits alike. However, Facebook lacks one critical feature to achieve this: providing business customers the ability to geographically target (“geo-target”) ‘Wall’ content (news, videos, status updates, etc.). As a result, Facebook Pages for businesses using them to reach customers to select from three Hobson’s Choices: 1) spam customers with irrelevant content, 2) reduce content to the least common denominator or 3) fragment their membership across multiple pages. Let's look at three examples:
1) Large Business Example: International High-end Grocery Chain
A particular high-end grocery chain (I frequent almost daily) makes extensive use of Facebook for customer outreach. However, their stores have different inter-regional needs (based on climate and culture) and intra-regional needs (based on inventory). To manage this, this company uses dozens of different Facebook Pages: one at each country level and one for each individual store. This significantly fragments their reach as their customers are forced to locate and ‘Like’ many different pages (something annoying at best and unlikely to occur at worst).
2) Small Business Example: Specialty Recruiting Firm
A colleague of mine runs a small specialty recruiting firm for the software industry that connects companies and candidates at two levels: he shares job postings to attract candidates and he shares candidate credentials to attract companies. He does this nationally, across many metropolitan markets. To manage this in Facebook, he has to share all information with all fans, forcing him to span customers with data that more often-than-not does not interest them. As a result, many of his fans have ‘hidden’ his feeds, making Facebook less useful to his business and his customers.Continued on the next page