WHAT MARKETING DISCIPLINE IS BEST SUITED TO HANDLE THESE TYPES OF CAMPAIGNS?
WHAT'S THE BEST APPROACH FOR MARKETERS TO TAKE WHEN ENTERING THIS SPACE?
AREN'T SOCIAL NETWORKS STILL JUST PLAYGROUNDS FOR YOUNG KIDS AND TEENS?
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTIONS MARKETERS HAVE ABOUT SOCIAL NETWORKS?
CAN THIS SPACE BE MEASURED?
HAVE ANY MARKETERS FOUND SUCCESS IN THIS SPACE?
CASE STUDYThe proof is in the numbers: box-office receipts, DVD sales, number of friends on MySpace and results from a Nielsen NRG study, to be more specific. Each provided Disney concrete evidence that continually revitalizing the MySpace profile it created for its 2006 dance-themed movie "Step Up" didn't just help boost the movie's DVD sales and turn its follow-up, "Step Up 2 the Streets," into a surprise box-office hit; it also managed to expand the movie's already sizeable and enthusiastic group of fans. The movie's MySpace profile has more than 156,000 friends.
"Step Up" drew in $65 million during its two-month box-office run in 2006. In the past four weeks, the sequel has managed to drum up $53 million in ticket sales, including an opening weekend of $22 million, $2 million more than the original earned. And an in-theater Nielsen NRG survey conducted during the sequel's opening weekend concluded that "Step Up 2 the Streets" was noticed more than its predecessor because of its MySpace profile.
Compare its findings with those of a similar study conducted during the first film's opening weekend: 49% of total respondents saw an ad or information for the movie on MySpace, compared with 37% who saw information on its profile for the original movie. More than twice as many males 25 and younger saw information about the sequel (57%) compared with the original (28%). Among females, the numbers were closer but still higher for the sequel (54%) than the original (46%). And in probably the most interesting finding, 58% of those with a MySpace profile recalled seeing an ad or information for the sequel, while only 26% of those without a profile remembered seeing anything about the movie. Those numbers were also up from 2006 -- 50% vs. 13%.
Jack Pan, VP-marketing strategy and special projects for Disney, said the lesson to be learned is that social networks allow marketers to more efficiently expand their group of consumers while getting the most out of already established marketing properties.
"It's one of the great things you can do on MySpace," he said. "We had a robust group of people who were interested in this movie, so we felt it was natural to just continue the dialogue with them as opposed to starting a new one and rebuilding another community for the sequel."
Through the "Step Up" MySpace profile, MySpace users were able to interact with the movie's director and stars, participate in a variety of contests, win a chance to appear in the movie and gain admittance to an advance "Black Curtain" screening of the film, where they met and spoke to stars of the movie and its soundtrack.
What Mr. Pan said he especially likes about MySpace is its ability to create armies of brand ambassadors.
"The community part is big for us, because creating a forum for discussion and allowing a group to collectively share their interests with each other is like having a digital street team," Mr. Pan said. "By giving these ambassadors content to play with and opportunities to be invested in, we feel like we're providing value to them, and their enthusiasm can do a lot of marketing on our behalf. You see a much more lasting and viral impact than you would through other forms of media."
Naturally, a MySpace executive agreed.
"It's one more in an ever-growing book of best practices and something we have been preaching for a while," said Michael Barrett, chief revenue officer at Fox Interactive Media. "A lot of folks refer to this practice as customer relationship management, but we like to call it community relationship management. The ["Step Up" MySpace profile] has 156,000-plus friends, and that didn't come from one effort; it came from a succession of efforts. They have grown their community and kept it engaged by giving them reasons to keep coming back."
The site will once again be repurposed for the DVD release of "Step Up 2 the Streets."