- 645F2A37953C2EC90FE4

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.

Leave a Reply

What Are People Saying?

We recently engaged Susan to help with a new product line launch.  Her strategic approach to the project, combined with her project management skills, led us to a great launch.  We would certainly not have been as successful (or as profitable) with this new product line without Susan’s help.

C.E. Accessories Company

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.