Charmin hopes toilet paper can be sexy too!

I have always held the notion that social media is not for everyone. There are obvious candidates who benefit from social technologies because their audience is online and already talking about their brand, for example Dell tapping into the active tech community with product ideas through IdeaStorm.com. Other brands can create interest based programs by focusing on their customers’ problems or related interests that can then be associated to the brand, for example P&Gs beinggirl.com talking adolescence to sell feminine products. And then we have things like toilet paper… until now.

Charmin recently launched a search to find five super-fun, enthusiastic people to work at the Charmin Restrooms in Times Square this holiday season. Their new micro-site, EnjoytheGo.com, explains the program in detail. The job description is simple: Greet and entertain bathroom guests and then blog about the experience, and the payout is big: $10,000 for 1 month.

Before we focus in on the logistics around potty blogging, I want to highlight two key qualifiers that every organization should ask before even dabbling in sexy social technologies:

• Does my target audience use social technologies?
• Does my target audience use social technologies to talk about my brand, industry or a related interest?

While some or most of Charmin’s target audience might be active users, I find it hard to believe that their audience is using social technologies to learn about the brand, or toilet paper or a stranger’s bathroom experience.

This doesn’t pass my sniff test, how about you?

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Five Online Trends Marketers Should Focus On.

With almost half of 2009 and hopefully the worst of the economy behind us, its time to focus on the online trends that matter. Put your Facebook and Twitter strategy aside and focus on:

  • Interactivity: Organizations need to really internalize what it means to be interactive and leverage the specific strengths of interactive channels for all marketing programs and consumer touch points. Interactive marketers need to push best practices across the entire organization to ensure a positive experience for consumers changing behaviors and expectations.
  • Measurement: Consumers increasing cross-channel behavior will force marketers to improve their measurement capabilities. Consumers move across a variety of online and offline channels throughout their purchase process. In order to accurately determine the effectiveness of marketing spend, influence future investment or identify which programs to cut, measurement needs a cross-cannel upgrade.
  • Consolidation: With the proliferation of marketing channels, organizations have acquired a variety of separate vendor/agency relationships for their search, email, social and mobile marketing efforts. Marketers need to tear down the internal and external walls separating channels to reduce the number of profit centers and infighting, create a media neutral approach and improve cross-channel integration.
  • Governance: The talk in 2008 was that marketing’s needed to release control of their brands, that consumers now owned the brands and there was nothing you could do about it. It is exactly because of that shift in control that marketers need to better manage brand communications through the issuance of governance policies and procedures for employees and increased vigilance through brand monitoring tools and technologies.
  • Analytics: For years now marketers have been collecting data through CRM systems, web analytics platforms, experiential marketing campaigns, etc. Marketers now need to integrate disparate data sources from around the organization and enhance their analytical capabilities to help improve targeting, enhance consumer insights and promote a more comprehensive view of the customer.