In many ways, this all depends on who your customer is and what their journey is.
Everyone knows about Snapchat at this point, right? Anyone still in the dark on this one? If so, here’s all you need to know… It’s one of the most popular social networks among 16 – 25 year olds, it’s worth a rumored $5 Billion, and it feels like no one is making money off of it.
Now, part of this is by design. There are only a few areas that you can actually advertise in Snapchat, and they’re all pretty horrendous. You can pay for ads in “Live Stories,” and essentially get a 10 second pre-roll spot that users can just click through with no wait at all. You can advertise on their new “Discover” feature, which is poised to disrupt the way news and entertainment sites ranging from CNN to Comedy Central release their content. Both of these options are pretty bad unless you want a really expensive and really unpredictable increase in brand awareness.
The question that no one is asking, though, is how can we incorporate Snapchat into what we know already works? Many people are writing off the social network as a trend (mistake) and many more are afraid of playing on the network because they don’t understand it (bigger mistake). This is why people pay stupid kids like me to come in and play around with these new technologies, and I am shocked that more people haven’t figured out what they have at their fingertips – literally.
I can think of about a dozen industries – including nightlife, restaurants, and local retail – who could benefit immensely by incorporating free elements of Snapchat into their marketing strategy, and it all folds into the Bible that most all digital marketers adhere to… The buyer’s journey.
The Traditional Buyer’s Journey
If you’re savvy enough to be reading the MarTech Blog, I’m sure you know all about the traditional buyer’s journey. The whole customer experience is portrayed in this model as a rational, logical decision made by a rational decision maker. First, a customer realizes they have a problem, then they start researching solutions, then they learn more about your solution, then they buy it, then they become an advocate for it. It seems so clean, so simple. Almost too clean and too simple…
That’s because it is. In the B2B space, it is very relevant. In the B2C space it is sometimes relevant, but it more closely resembles a rule of thumb than an actual formula. So how can you adjust this rule of thumb to fit Snapchat into the process?
Adjusting The Journey For The Next Generation
Let’s start with the generational thing. I’m not here to write another trend piece on how to market to millennials. Those are written predominantly by people who are too old to understand us or too young to understand business, and I have no interest in it. That being said, there is a BIG difference between how younger people consume information and how marketers’ models assume they consume information.
For example, millennials as a whole are notorious for not trusting advertising. That’s a great oversimplification and a lot of people stop there. What no one asks is which millennials are we talking to?
The smartest ones with the most money distrust advertising, but they love researching and they really love brands who try to resonate with them. They grew up with the sum of human knowledge at their fingertips and they use it to settle bar bets, diagnose their sore throat, and decide where to spend their money. For this group, social proof is king, and anything that seems overly commercial tends to lose its appeal.
So this raises the all-important question, how can I leverage a platform that doesn’t support advertisers to market to a demographic that doesn’t want to be marketed to?
Snapchat Discovery Goes Far Beyond Snapchat Discover
Over the past few weeks, my team at Miles Design has been experimenting with Snapchat marketing, and we’ve found some really cool possibilities on the platform that are completely free and have the potential to actually drive business, not just brand recognition.
Imagine, for example, you’re a bar who struggles getting young 20-somethings to come in the doors. There are tons of tried-and-true solutions to this problem, including great drink specials, trivia nights, live music, etc., but many of these incentives are more dependent on signs outside your location than any other form of advertising. What if you need to drive people en masse to your location in order for your incentives to spur a purchase?
A few things are unique about Snapchat as a social network, including geo-filters. Now, Snapchat will not let you create a geo-filter for your business, but they will let you create a geo-filter for your area. This process is totally free and lasts indefinitely, meaning that any time someone comes to your neck of the woods, they can use your geofilter when Snapchatting your friends, ultimately driving more traffic to your neighborhood and, hopefully, your bar. Compound this with promotions (Snap us a picture with the geofilter and be entered to win a free drink, etc.) and you could become a social media juggernaut with your ideal demographic in a matter of months.
I’m not alone in this, either. Snapchat has actually used Geofilters to steal engineers from Uber, and my guess is that they won’t stop there. There are tons of applications for this technology, you just have to be willing to try it.
This all really boils down to engagement. Snapchat isn’t different, it’s just new. If you provide users with a great experience and a great way to connect and engage, you will win. For many B2C brands looking to engage a younger crowd, this is a great option… So why are they all afraid of it?
If you want to chat about Marketing, Technology, or their firstborn, Marketing Tech, I love talking. Keep the conversation going on Twitter and let me know what else you want to read about!