KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) has recently demonstrated the power of Twitter for consumer brands – or has it? The story goes that Oprah Winfrey talked about the launch of the company’s grilled chicken offering on her show, in the process citing a voucher that could be downloaded from the KFC Web site. The voucher then hit Twitter, both organically and because it was placed there by KFC. The result was a huge upturn in sales and so many Web hits that the KFC site crashed.
Hurrah! Marketing has a new Mecca! All we have to do is post a link to a voucher for our new widget and we will all be rolling in sales leads! The recession is over! All we need is a 140 character tweet!
Well, kind of. The story about KFC is a great example of ‘new’ marketing techniques being credited for 100% of any given success, despite ‘old’ marketing techniques being a crucial element of the project.
You see, the voucher might have been posted on Twitter but the story had already been on The Oprah Winfrey show. That’s The Oprah Winfrey Show! The highest rated talk show in American television history! The longest running daytime talk show in American history! One of Time magazine’s top fifty most influential TV shows ever! Could it be that appearing on Oprah made a difference in terms of sales of KFC that day?
The moral of the tale is that Twitter is a useful marketing tactic but it isn’t the be all and end all of modern marketing. In this example, the PR people played their part by generating the plug on Oprah. I have no doubt the direct marketing, advertising, SEO, e-mail marketing and point of sale people could present a valid argument that they were involved as well.
In my time in industrial marketing I’ve seen fads come and go and new techniques be integrated into the key group of tactics employed regularly by clients. But I’ve never seen one new tactic rise up and become more powerful than all the others and I doubt I ever will. So, when you next come to market your new widget, don’t dismiss Twitter and other social networking vehicles as a way of reaching your audience. But don’t forget your other marketing channels either. The key is always, always the marketing mix.
Richard Stone is the managing director of Stone Junction PR, an integrated technical PR specialist. He quite likes Twitter. And Web sites. And trade magazines and thinks that generating coverage in all of them is essential for a campaign to work. Although, to be honest, Twitter isn’t the most important thing an industrial marketeer should be doing today. Maybe it will be tomorrow.
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- Posted on 24 Jul 2009 at 11:02 am
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