I was pondering a post with a central hypothesis of “social media marketing only works on the margins”.
Essentially, if a company’s marketing comprises social media tactics (monitoring, joining and leading the “conversation”) it will make no bearing on customer’s choice to choose that organization; but when faced with a choice of choosing between two similar companies, one of which has adopted social media and the other that hasn’t, the customer, stakeholder, business partner, whatever will chose the one with a strong social media component.
However, doing some research proves this (initially) to be false.
I took Dell and HP, partly because they seem to do broadly the same thing and partly because I’m fairly sure neither of them are FH or iStudio clients. Dell, as is well known, has a strong social media element to its marketing after being hammered in the blogosphere. HP, while having a prominent blogger as a high-ranking executive, hasn’t seemed to have embraced social media as enthusiastically.
So I thought this would be a good comparison. I would also be able to use stock prices to compare which company was more “successful”.
Using the NASDAQ comparison tool, I found that HP’s stock had actually outperformed Dell’s by some margin over the past three years:
Hmmm, interesting. Maybe HP simply has its fingers in more pies, than Dell. But what about in searches. Dell is a consumer facing organization and therefore, with the amount of social media it touches, must outperform HP on searches. So I turned to Google Trends to validate this suspicion:
So, does marketing through social media work at all? This cursory, back-of-a-napkin experiment would imply not (although there are tonne of things I haven’t taken into account in this analysis).
So why are we getting all pent up over this sort of thing?
Sidebar: If Dell and HP don’t “compete” I’d be interested to hear who would be a fair comparison.