These guys are doing some cool work. They’re called Ammo Marketing. But I’m worried. They do great product launches and they make a big splash and they do all the right things in terms of identifying the right influencers and getting their clients products in front of them, but then what? Giving brand evangelists like musicians, bar tenders and triathletes free premium beer, exotic liquor and fancy sports drinks is going to convert a few people and a few of their friends, possibly even a lot of people and a lot of their friends, but then the impact is slowly going to slip away. Ammo marketing is a great start, but unless brands follow up the initial splash by genuinely engaging their customers over the next few years, they’ll just get dazzled by the next big splash that comes along.
If I can take the analogy quite literally, Ammo marketing is exactly what the CIA did in Afghanistan in the 1970s — they gave a bunch of villagers ammunition (rocket launchers) to shoot down Soviet helicopters. It resulted in a small victory in the Cold War, but the end result was disastrous because the CIA failed to maintain the dialogue with their customers. Giving a bunch of cool bands free beer in the hope that the audience will switch brands as well isn’t any more effective in the long run unless you keep the dialogue going.
This dialogue is called social media marketing. And like most things, America isn’t very good at it.