At first glance, we can assume that brand messages, which are more concerned with image than with specific product features, will be best promoted via an advertising approach. On the other hand, if there are really interesting or even breakthrough features in a product, chances are that you can get your influential customers hooked.
But overall, there is no either/or. First of all, many connected marketing approaches can be part of both your advertising and relationship marketing activities. If a company develops a highly interactive and involving online advergame but doesn't track its most vocal advocates, identify their locations, nor try to engage with them in a connected dialogue, it's throwing away massive potential for successful marketing.
And if a company is brilliant at identifying its most influential customers but fails to provide them with advance, trackable online versions of its most engaging television ads (which the recipients can forward to friends), the concept of the influential customer would be lost on that company.
Companies must find smart ways to combine both advertising and relationship approaches to connected marketing and learn the needs and pitfalls involved. The relationships in connected marketing share an important element with public relations: any good PR executive will agree that maintaining relationships with journalists requires tact and an understanding of their needs and wants - you only ever give journalists what you believe will help them with their job (or life, for that matter). The same goes for market influencers - they should be seen as strategic partners who provide immense benefits to the company. So a connected marketer should provide influential customers with what will delight, surprise and enthuse them.
And a compelling connected advertising idea is one way to do just that.
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