Last week, we talked a bit about the difference between marketing with advertising and social media. I mentioned the idea of breadcrumb marketing as a construct for thinking about how you’d market via a social media strategy.
Today I want to share a bit more about that with you because I’ve had a lot of folks comment on Twitter, in person and via email that they really like the analogy.
You remember the story of Hansel and Gretel right? In the story they dropped little white pebbles to mark the path back to their house.
Breadcrumb Marketing Explained
Breadcrumb marketing is very similar, except you’re not dropping crumbs that you will follow back to your home, you’re dropping crumbs that your consumer can follow back to your home. In this analogy, home can mean a lot of things. If you’re a retailer, home might be literally driving traffic to your store. But you might be trying to alter brand perception and thus your home is a consumer changing the mind about your brand. Whatever the case, success is helping your customer/prospect find the trail and then follow it, one breadcrumb at a time.
This is really counter to how we’ve all been taught to market. In a traditional advertising centric world, we’re taught to tell the entire story in one sitting — whether that be in an ad, a TV spot, radio advertisement or direct mail piece. If we’re lucky, we won’t be forced to literally tell every piece of information. However, it is safe to say, no client is going to fund an ad that is designed to get you to simply read another ad — well except for teaser campaigns. That simply isn’t how you generate good ROI using high cost mediums like advertising.
Enter social media. Because it’s relative cost is low (note, I didn’t say social media was FREE, I said LOW) and the natural limitations on communications (Twitter’s 140 limit for instance) social media lends itself to a breadcrumb approach. You can’t tell the whole story in one sitting, so why bother to try. Because the medium is about ongoing engagement/conversation, why not leverage that in your favor?
Thus the breadcrumb strategy. Help a consumer find that first breadcrumb. This is actually a place that advertising is quite adept. Once they find that first crumb, entice them (with something in the first crumb) to want to find another. Now, unlike Hansel and Gretel, the consumer doesn’t have to follow EVERY breadcrumb in order to successfully arrive at your house. But they do probably need to interact with a significant share of them, lest they lose the train of the conversation. The important point, be sure that you’re leaving them wanting something more with each tweet, post or email. Breadcrumb Marketing is about enticement, allure, information and persuasion — all without the consumer really realizing they are being sold.
Guess the only thing left would be to figure out how you’d plan such a campaign. Maybe you can help me there? How would you go about creating a breadcrumb approach for your brand? And once done, do you think it would work? Let me know…
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