Social media marketing case study: Miracle-Gro

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

26 March 2012

Context is everything

Marketers from all segments have been scrambling these past years to find ways to take advantage of all forms of social media marketing, especially in reaching finely targeted audiences.

My stance has always been that social media follows the same rules as any other marketing endeavor: You must have a brand promise that’s meaningful to your audience. It doesn’t matter which tactic you use, social media or not. It’s not going to work without one.

“If the context isn’t right, we as humans fail to remember.”

But I have to admit I chuckled hearing that Miracle-Gro can now be used when playing Farmville on Facebook and other venues.

Miracle-GroI don’t play Farmville myself, but I do know plenty of adults who do. In fact, Miracle-Gro conducted research and discovered that eight out of 10 players enjoy “real” gardening – so the target audience is right.

Better yet, Miracle-Gro exists in the right context. Other brands, such as Discover Card and 7-Eleven, also advertise on the game. But it’s a struggle to convince me they belong in the context of Farmville.

Context is important. If the context isn’t right, we as humans fail to remember. That’s because we make associations in order to recall things. Ever try to remember a number by associating that number with something else? (A colleague here uses NFL jersey to remember numbers.) That’s what Miracle-Gro is doing here with its association with gardening and, uh, online farming.

The other Farmville advertisers, which also include Bing, not so much. So there’s another requirement for marketing on social media. Be contextually right so you are remembered.


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