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Pavlovian Marketing in the Age of Social Media

Pavlovian Marketing in the Age of Social Media

Pavlovian MarketingSocial media is a tool.  It’s not a Pavlovian marketing machine where the customers consistently feed comments, observations and insights and marketers beg, heel and sit in response.

Pavlovian response is a form of learning where a conditioned stimulus comes to signal the occurrence of a second stimulus.  Pavlov presented dogs with food and the dogs salivated.  No biggie.  But then, Pavlov introduced a conditioned stimulus and rang a bell when presenting food to the dogs.  After repeated bell-food pairings the bell also caused the dogs to salivate.

Food = Salivate

Bell + Food = Salivate

Bell = Salivate


Pavlovian Marketing(SM) is when business becomes conditioned to the consistent, persistent social messages to define the brand.

Marketing Insight = Brand

Tweets, Posts, Fans And Friends + Marketing Insight = Brand

Tweets, Posts, Fans And Friends = Brand


Who really owns your brand?  You do!  And you need to take on the responsibility for it.

Some of the spiritual guides of the social marketing world seem to believe that customers own your brand.  The only own your brand if you allow them to.  Just because customers have newfound abilities to broadcast their opinions doesn’t give them ownership of your brand.

You are responsible for the products, materials, packaging design, messaging and core corporate identify.  You create it.  And you reap the benefits.  You may also suffer the onslaught of customer outrage at what you put into the market.

No doubt that social media changes the landscape.  Customer feedback is now loud, quick and potentially massive.  Corporate actions are infinitely more transparent.  But, the responsibility for creating, defining and messaging your brand is still yours!

Customers are now … and always have been… the barometer of what your brand.  They are your lifeline, your guidance and, perhaps, your gurus.  Back in the old days (20 years ago), smart marketers developed brands that were market-driven, customer-driven and reality-driven.  Not doing this was the ultimate brand killer.  It still is.

I haven’t been living under a rock.  Yes, social marketing has unleashed unprecedented potential and enormous challenges into our marketing considerations.  The latent power of customers has been unleashed.  And so, the marketer’s challenges become even greater.  Your customers will hold you to higher standards.  It’s your responsibility to figure out how to rise above their expectations with your products, your brand, your action and your messages.

As an information hungry marketer, the explosion in social media provides amazing access to a wealth of customer information.  As a proactive marketer, I know that accessing and analyzing this information as an ongoing process is critical to my future.  As a visionary marketer, I know that I have to create a dream for my brand that’s bigger and bolder than my customers would envision. Keep in mind that the ringing bell was never a substitute for food. And, similarly, all the tweets, blogs, friends, fans, blurbs and blips are no substitute for the insight and creativity of a real marketer.

Social media has opened a floodgate of customer opinion, feedback and information.  It’s our responsibility to use it with the full responsibility that our customers want.  If it’s Pavlovian social marketing that you want, just hand the reins over to your customers.

Why Small Businesses Are Losing On Social Media

social networks 

A new report from online business community Manta shows that, desperate to increase sales numbers in 2013, American small business owners are turning up on the social web in droves. The trouble is, no matter how much time they spend, they’re simply not seeing a return on investment. […]

Marketer’s Crash Course in Visual Content Creation

ScreenHunter_01 Apr. 17 17.41

“Today, we communicate visually.  As a small business, you don’t always have the time or money to hire someone to create all of your visuals.  Downloading this free crash course in visual content creation from Hubspot will be a big help.  And you’ll also get a collection of Powerpoint templates to help you design Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn,  Twitter and YouTube headers.

Marketers have to start pretending they have 3 seconds or less to catch someone’s eye if they want to get an idea across. It’s as simple as this: if you can’t win your prospects’ attention, you can’t convert them into customers.

In today’s real-time world, marketers can’t be waiting around for resources to appear from thin air to get content created. Although designers definitely know design best, perhaps it’s time for you and your marketing team to take visual content creation into your own hands.”

This guide can be a great time saver and can be downloaded here.

7 Simple Social Media Concepts

I wish I’d been there to see this social media presentation in person.  Even without the speaker notes, the message is clear.  If you want to win and be likeable in social marketing, be your authentic self, listen and respect your audience and engage your fans.

The Small Business Marketing Evolution

The Small Business Marketing Evolution

Small business marketing has gone been put to the test.  There’s less staff, less resources and less time to market and sell their goods and services.  And, at the same time marketing is changing dramatically.  The options available to small and mid-sized businesses is astounding.  Making the best choices for your business is a challenge.

[Jim Cavale, COO of Iron Tribe Fitness] You could easily liken small business marketing and digital marketing today to an old quote from Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) about the weather in New England: “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes.” And it will […]

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Susan is a marketing leader who understands the creativity required to insure enduring success. She is smart, innovative and committed to getting it right.

K. SharpeC.E.O.Sharpe Partners

How We Can Help You.

We are marketing consultants based on Long Island, NY. Over the past 20 years, we've built fierce market leaders in a broad range of businesses - from tiny start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies.  Our experience spans multiple industries from consumer electronics to financial services and from food services to photo.  We're looking forward to talking to you to see how we can help take your business to the next level.