By now, you've probably heard about a recent Pepsi outreach that delivered three packages, over the course of an hour, to 25 influential bloggers; the first two contained cans with logos from throughout the cola-maker's history, while the last featured those with the latest design. A note explained: "You're part of a handful of digital and social influencers we're reaching out to regarding a multiyear, companywide transformation."

The delivery gimmick, which some found intriguing, didn't pack its intended drama for a few recipients. Mack Collier, who lives in a rural area, was bemused by the silliness of having a courier sit in his driveway while waiting out the prescribed 20-minute interval between each delivery. Rohit Bhargava, meanwhile, missed it altogether—he was out of the country when the packages arrived.

Collier applauds Pepsi's ambition, but takes issue with the initial stage of the campaign's execution for these reasons:

  • "Sending bloggers stuff to get us to blog about it is soooo 2006," he writes. "Sure it can lead to a ton of initial buzz, but if there's no follow-up and if the buzz doesn't lead to the start of creating connections with your customers, then it's still money wasted."
  • Companies should target online evangelists before they go after social media influencers.
  • In the world of social media, you're sure to see a better ROI on time than on money.

Your Marketing Inspiration: Focus on the relationships that social media tools facilitate, not the tools themselves. "You want to use social media as a channel to better connect with your customers, as a way for you to better understand them, and for them to better understand you."

More Inspiration:
Lena West: Do Web 2.0 Names Give Traditional Marketers Pause?
Jonathan Kranz: Marketing to Mutants
Paul Chaney: Company Blog: Single Spokesperson or Many Voices?

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