The Importance of Truth in Marketing

This week saw Domino’s pizza chain make its ‘biggest announcement in 20 years’, preceded by an extensive social media and TV teaser campaign. They said they’d listened to their customers and that they’d ‘pushed themselves to respond’. They said it would be big, that it would be a ‘game changer’.  Around the office, even those of us who do not frequent this particular pizza chain couldn’t help feeling mildly curious as to what they could possibly have come up with that would redefine the category.

The big announcement turned out to be a range of pizzas with square bases and new toppings. Unfortunately for them, the news fell rather flat among many of their customers who took to social media to respond, voicing their disappointment that the announcement did not live up to the hype they had created.

Domino’s share price dropped that day and the company seems to have gone into damage control mode with the CEO (who fronted the ads) personally answering questions on Domino’s Facebook page. The overwhelming question from Domino’s customers is ‘how is that a game changer?’ The question on our minds is ‘how did that get through the marketing department of a global giant like Domino’s?’
It highlights to us the importance of truth in marketing – an age-old concept but never more relevant than today, in a society that loves to scrutinise big companies and when it has never been easier for consumers to talk back. Let’s give Domino’s the benefit of the doubt and assume that they really did believe that this would be a game changer and that their customers would be thrilled. A simple round of good research  - customer feedback - would quickly have revealed that not to be the case and a rethink ordered. 

Truth in marketing is not what we as marketers think; it’s what our customers believe. 

Google vs Facebook

Given there are 100's of millions of people who spend time on both Facebook and Google, it was inevitable these two internet giants would eventually start locking horns and fighting for the same online advertising dollars.

The fight went relatively public not long ago (May 2011) when it was discovered Facebook had secretly hired a famous PR agency to create a smear campaign around Google's privacy policies. Not a very nice thing to do.

But it's got me thinking - from a consumer perspective both appear to be two very different beasts ...

  • Is akin to a living breathing ecosystem of individuals, groups, brands and companies of all sizes interacting with each other via tweets, Youtube videos, pictures, status updates, games, tagging, fan pages, competitions etc
  • Facebook's gravitas comes from the fact that many of your friends (and probably future friends as well) are on it and it requires relatively very little effort (and money) on your part to keep in touch with them
  • Facebook is sticky because you become part of the Facebook ecosystem as soon as you join (like it or not)
On the other hand ... GOOGLE (THE ORACLE)
  • Is akin to an Oracle given you can type a few words into a box and get an answer to almost anything you could possibly want
  • Google's gravitas comes from the fact it appears to know almost everything and is often good at predicting what you want to know
  • Google is sticky because we will never stop asking questions / needing information - thus making many of us regular users
Thinking about these two internet giants in this way has made me wonder if they are competing at all? Is it a bit like TV vs Print? Are they just two different mediums?

On the one hand you have the Facebook ecosystem that people want to be a part of - so naturally businesses should try to be part of this ecosystem in some way or another as well

But on the other hand you have Google, which is the oracle people are turning to when they want to know something - so naturally businesses should try to be in favour with the Oracle when it's handing out answers

Thinking about Facebook and Google as two different mediums, I think we are likely to see some different methods of online advertising emerge, much the same way that TV is different from print

Is the Facebook party over?

An interesting study undertaken by Ypulse (Youth media specialists in the USA) found evidence of Facebook fatigue:

"25 percent of the students reported spending less or no time at all anymore on the site"

If these people are spending less time on Facebook - what are they replacing it with? Is it a cultural change or is something else going to come along and replace it (remember MySpace?)

Source: PSFK