Marketing boot camps are the current rage – a local gathering of marketing professionals exchanging ideas, more often than not, about the “buzz du jour”, interactive marketing. We now live in a digital age, but the real winners will know how to balance new and classic strategies, thus implement hybrid marketing.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the business classic The Cluetrain Manifesto. The book predicted the end of business as usual. To paraphrase authors Locke, Levine, Weinberger and Searls: "A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies." Note this book was released in 2000, pre-Web 2.0.
An established brand that implements hybrid marketing well is M&M’s® candy. First launched in 1941, M&M’s® has utilized classic marketing strategies to grow their business internationally – product extensions (including color), packaging changes, television and print advertising campaigns and multiple channel strategies. The M&M’s® Characters made their debut in 1954 and have evolved into America’s favorite spokes candies. In recognition of their characters popularity, M&M’s® jumped into interactive marketing full force. On their website, in addition to product information, recipes, a merchandise section, M&M’s® Racing club, they have a fun & games section (downloads, e-cards, videos and ads) to engage their customers. People can follow them on Facebook (over 950 thousand people worldwide). They used this social media platform to sample and launch their latest new product, M&M’s® Pretzel (FYI: not all of the comments posted were favorable). There are Twitter accounts for each of their colors/characters since they are currently running an integrated campaign across all medium to have their fans vote (online or via text) for their favorite color. Given that M&M’s® understands hybrid marketing, I would be remiss not to mention that they launched two classic marketing strategies in the past few years – an upscale strategy with premium candies; an exclusivity strategy offering consumers customized M&M’s®.
Marketing is morphing given all the new technology. More importantly, tech savvy consumers now want to engage with their favorite brands; have a voice. In spite of the advancement of Web 2.0, smart marketers understand the balancing act they need to now perform between executing new and classic strategies, better known as hybrid marketing.
I forgot to ask, who is your favorite M&M’s® character?