SAN FRANCISCO: Direct digital marketing on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is a waste of company resources, according to the internet marketing director for Harlem Globetrotters, David Ball.
Ball made the claim during a customer breakout session at Salesforce's Dreamforce, event attended by V3, explaining that email remains the basketball team's most lucrative digital marketing tool.
"People still prefer to get direct marketing via email. Email is more successful than any other platform. They prefer email to Facebook, SMS, Twitter, everything," he said. "We have had zero luck with direct marketing on Facebook. We'll keep trying but right now we've got nothing."
The Globetrotter director said, despite being useless as direct digital marketing tools, Facebook and Twitter are still useful as research tools. "We use social media to assist email. We use Facebook to influence, engage and learn about our customers," he said.
Ball said the Harlem Globetrotters use internet memes and competitions to entice Facebook users to like and share statuses, allowing the the brand to save the users' information for future marketing campaigns.
"Facebook's a great way to provide content to your potential customer base. We're an entertainment brand so we use it to provide entertaining content," he said. "It's also an opportunity to learn what people like and tailor content. You can learn who your customers are, what they like and use that as part of an email in a direct marketing push."
Ball highlighted Amazon's emails as an example of valuable use of Facebook user data. "Amazon does this the best. If I get an email with a message saying 'deals', I open it because I know they'll get it right and I'll want to see the products," he said.
Collecting and sharing user data with companies has been a central part of Facebook's revenue stream. Mark Zuckerberg listed Facebook's "knowledge economy" as the future of digital advertising and marketing in a blog post earlier this year.
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