blog: Online Marketing Strategies

August 13, 2012

pinterestThe Power of Pinterest : Part II

Optimizing your online marketing strategy with the latest social media platform.

Kari-Lynn O’Neil — social media Strategist

Last fall, prior to Pinterest’s platform going public, I wrote about the Power of Pinterest. At the time it had 3.5 million active monthly users on Facebook since it’s launch in March 2010, and valued at around $200 million. As of August 1st, 2012 it has 20 million users. It’s growth from July 2011 (at 1 million users) surpassed the 10 million mark faster than any other social platform to date and is now valued at $1.5 billion. (Thanks, in part to $100 million investment by Japanese E-Commerce and Internet giant, Rakuten, hinting at a worldwide service.)

Pinterest Manages the Search / Purch Gap

As I see it, one of the primary complications with marketing today is that there is little or no control over managing the customer relationship during the consumer journey. There are too many messages from competing brands, and competing purchase locations from the moment a consumer learns of a product launch until point of purchase. It is impossible to maintain control over the consumer to achieve reasonable conversion and ROI. It's become a marketing feeding frenzy, and we as consumers, are evolving our brains to tune out the "repetition blindness" that overwhelms us.

    customer journey


Let's Talk about What Pinterest really is

Pinterest is an ideal social platform for consumers because they help sort through the noise in a way that is relevant to them. They can gather the intel they need to make the life decisions without noise. The links leave breadcrumbs to the places they want to go back to with visual reminders of why. (A cue to web designers that image selection is critical to conversion.) They are able to search, sort and save items in a way that matters to them and interact with people who have the same interests, it filters the clutter and provides consumers with content in a pure form. 

It is no coincidence that the largest group of decision makers of discretionary income (Pinterest is composed of 68% Women, 49.5% are 25-44, 28% have HHI 100K+) have gravitated towards a platform that helps organize the objects they desire. Whether it is to decorate their home, dress their child or themselves, gather holiday gift ideas, or recipes they plan to make, Pinterest allows them to organize what ultimately lead to purchase decisions, directly or indirectly. They can even pack their boards up and bring them to the store. When combined with fact that these "object collections" are curated by the consumer, and chosen on the deepest level of purchasing influence, desire, Pinterest becomes one powerful tool. People don't buy because were effectively marketed to. They buy because of desire. It's an emotional decision, 65% of which is driven by visual cues (not words). 20 million people (and growing), are pinning things they want, in a visual way an average of 15.8 minutes, because they want to.

Take Sophie: She loves purses. She can now network with purse lovers and create boards all about purses, even become a purse expert. People follow her for the latest trends, news and sales for purses. No scrolling through baby pictures of people she is friends with because she doesn’t want to be rude. No mindless posts from bad retailers who think social media is just another place to post sales.  After a long day of work, she comes home, opens her iPad and there it is...Sophie’s little piece of “Purse Heaven.”  

The upside for businesses? You’ve just identified a top influencer and you don’t have to pay for an ad to the masses about your wide selection of purses. Talk to her and she will evangelize your message to her loyal following.


Top 10 Ways Retailers can use Pinterest

  1. To identify top trending items 
  2. Manage pricing strategy by focusing on top trending items 
  3. Effectively help buyers pick for next season based on consumer tastes versus vendor picks.
  4. Forecasting can be improved by engaging pinners prior to buying trips
  5. Sales pages can be built sending loyal shoppers to the site first.
  6. Back links funnel up most popular items to the top of search ahead of competitors, and back to you- where they found it first: Read higher conversions, improved ROI.
  7. Spying on competition's top trending items
  8. CRM Tool
  9. Identify top influencers to target as brand ambassadors
  10. Gain better insights on your target audience and “also likes”

The biggest mistake I think marketers make when looking at free social marketing platforms like Pinterest, is that they only see it for what it "is". Think of these social platforms as tools or building blocks, not an end of a means. You wouldn't look at a hammer and say, "Cool, this is a hammer. We can pound stuff now. Everyone, What can we pound?" Of course not! You look at your project and say, "OK, these are the things I need to improve. What tools do I need, and how do I use the tools effectively to get the end result I'm looking for?" Build your roadmap from there.

Imagine a retail world where you had less clearance items at the end of the year because you didn’t buy that hideous lime-yellow peacoat the designer said was, “So NOW, dahhhhhling. Everyone in Paris is doing it.” Not only would profit margins improve, but consumer trust would be at an all time high. And you owed it all to a free platform, a social marketing tool, called Pinterest.

About the author:
Kari-Lynn O’Neil, Partner and Strategist for eightseconds, has over 15 years of marketing and business development and social media experience. Her combined education in Sociology, Psychology and Communications provides the foundation for her strategic plans and led to the creation of science-based branding system unique to the agency world. O’Neil was featured in the Business Section of several Wisconsin newspapers entitled “The Science of Selling” which focused on the 6 international awards since they’ve opened their doors in June of 08. The eightseconds approach is revolutionary and based on research and function, improving profitability for their clients and usability for their customers.

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