June 5, 2011

Why the Fat Lady Sang

It isn’t over till the fat lady sings.” In my family, this quote is used during sporting events with anyone attempting to gloat before the event is finished. After all, the opera isn’t finished until the fat lady sings.  In the case of Halls latest online marketing campaign, it appears that the fat lady sang before the campaign ended.
I learned of Halls’ The Operahh of Irritations campaign via email.  The campaign requested that people state, via Twitter or facebook, what irritates them and Halls would have opera singers sing those comments, which could be watched live on facebook.  I tweeted my comments for the opera singers, including the hashtag Halls created, and clicked through to the campaign facebook page only to see two bored opera singers with nothing to sing and that I was one of 61 viewers. 

Later that day, the Halls Twitter account @GetHalls followed me.  (The Halls Twitter account had about 45 friends – accounts they were following - and 23 followers that day, May 20.)
While I missed the operatic version of my tweet, I couldn’t help but think about what companies could do to improve the results of their marketing campaigns:
·    Identify Your Customers – Who are they?  What are their likes and dislikes?  How does your campaign idea fit with your customers?  If the campaign isn’t a good fit, are you really going to attract enough new customers to make up the revenue for the customers you’ll lose with this marketing campaign?  What percentage of Halls customers are opera fans?  (On the positive side for Halls, their reach was so low with this campaign that there aren’t that many people who will look at a bag of Halls and think of the opera.)

·    Use Twitter to Build Relationships – It appeared that Halls didn’t even have a Twitter account before they decided on their opera campaign, and Halls did a poor job of creating their Twitter account.  Make certain when you create your company account that you use the company logo, include your URL and a description of your company, and make certain any background image you use ties in with your brand.  Don’t assume that anyone knows about your company or what products you make or sell. 
How can you tell what this company does?

Next, search for people tweeting about your industry and build relationships with them.  (Search for complaints, too, and don’t just search based on hashtags.) It’s okay to tweet those people and say that you agree with them, or just tweet them a link to some resources that are not on your web site.  (During a short stint with a small ecommerce site, I tweeted a man who was looking for a specific item that the site didn’t carry.  My tweet included two links to competitors’ sites.  If you don’t have the product that someone tweets they’re looking for, point them in the right direction.  They’ll remember you tried to make their life easier.)  Then work on increasing your interaction with your customers and potential customers.  Ask for their input and feedback, share exclusive news with them, etc.  Make interacting with you so enjoyable that people tweet about you.
·    Tell the Truth – People can find out the truth in a hurry.  If your campaign wasn’t a success, don’t claim that it was.  Just tweet your thanks to everyone who participated.

·    Test in Advance – If any part of your campaign involves using equipment for video or transmitting a live feed, test everything in advance. Twice.  The last thing you want is to have technical problems the moment your campaign is supposed to be live.  You might not think that technical problems affect your brand/company image but the people deciding which vendor to hire or which product to purchase will disagree with you.
If Halls had planned ahead, this campaign probably would have had better results, even though I doubt many Halls customers are big opera fans.  What do you think?

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