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A New Marketing Model for IM: Page 3

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Posted May 17, 2002 By Staff     Feedback
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Companies Likely to Get Neighboring

Initially, businesses will use interactive sessions like IM as a foundation to establish relationships with product loyalist. Similar to what Matt Reese did with creating grassroots organizations to support political campaigning, public affairs and issue lobbying. Simply, businesses will start asking for support and reward those customers that support them.

Here are a few organizations and businesses to watch:

Farmers Insurance Group - Farmers Insurance is the country's third-largest writer of both private passenger automobile and homeowners insurance. Farmers' operates in 41 states supported by nearly 18,000 employees servicing more than 15 million customers. Recently, the insurance giant provided each of their sales agents a personal computer. Imagine the combined network effect of 18,000 sales agents actively asking their customers in real-time for sales referrals.

National Associations - Trade associations, in particular, run highly effectively grassroots mobilization campaigns supporting one continuous unified message.

Imagine the "pass along" power of a campaign when someone knows you are online and present at your computer, and asks you in real-time to communicate to a legislator? Watch out Washington! This simple framework is likely to be mimicked by political campaigns as a tool to support GOTV (get-out-the-vote) activities.

Bacardi - Instant messaging is unique from other communication vehicles in that it has the power to detect whether someone else is online, a quality known as "presence." I believe Bacardi is likely to use IM as an event support mechanism to send notifications to individuals to drive people to show up at promotions, events and parties. Don't be surprised when more people just start showing up!

Building Neighborhoods: The Next Step

To reach mass audiences effectively through IM, corporations will need to rely on the power of their customer's influence over individuals in small groups. When these small networks are combined, Neighboring becomes a mass marketing tool for marketing professionals to use to create networks of smaller marketing organizations with disproportionately high market shares.

I believe marketers will continue to uncover new ways to use IM as a mass marketing vehicle, however, successful instant messaging marketing strategies will include Neighboring-based customer interactions.

Invitations will be expanded beyond the individual as corporations begin asking for support across small groups that will be only accessible through a neighbor's IM buddy list. The neighbor will be the link that initiates interactions, builds awareness and supports education objectives of a marketing campaign by allowing individuals to establish collaborative dialogs across small groups within IM sessions.

Marketing is a contest for people's attention, and there's a lot of competition. Corporations that empower their customers to use their own voice will be the ones that succeed.

Neighboring marketing model author Todd Tweedy is president of The Tweedy Group LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based marketing consultancy. The Tweedy Group works with marketing executives in small and large firms to support performance-based product and service recommendations using database-driven and technology-enabled marketing tactics from e-mail communications, online media planning, search engine marketing and messaging. Clients have included America Online, The Motley Fool, Rolex, and Network Solutions. Todd was born and raised in Alaska, and has caught fish "that big."

Todd's AIM alias is todd1im, or you may reach him via e-mail at

Reprinted from InstantMessagingPlanet.

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