Although the social media marketing world is still relatively new the development of technologies, firms, and ideas that are used to advance or support online marketing platforms has been so rapid it’s sometimes tempting to assume that there are very few major innovations left to discover in this space. Coming across a company or even just an idea that has established a new way to leverage the breadth and depth of social media relationships towards new markets is always exciting. At this point, major breakthroughs in the world of social media business require a unique confluence of the right people, the right timing, and the right idea coming together at once. Needium is one potential example of this.
Needium is a Montreal based startup offering extremely inventive social media marketing services to small and medium sized businesses. The company started as “Praized Media” in 2007 and was founded by Harry Wakefield, Sebastien Provencher, and Sylvain Carle. Praized Media began as a central hub for people to recommend local places across social media platforms. Needium was launched in its current state sometime around 2010 and built on the Praized platform while redirecting its focus to small and medium sized business lead generation.
Needium offers its clients the invaluable service of a truly robust and bi-directional social media presence. It accomplishes this by monitoring social media sources for specific merchant name mentions and potential business opportunities based on needs expressed in the global pantheon of social media discourse. As noted on their website , the service offers “a unique way of leveraging social media for your business. Our platform monitors social media messages and identifies local opportunities like: “I’m looking for a good restaurant in New York” or “I just locked myself out of my home”. Our Social Media Experts then engage on your behalf and work to convert these local opportunities into actual leads.”
The following video better illustrates how the service is executed:
Needium differs from services offered by companies like “Posse”, in that it doesn’t rely on members of a social media community to specifically recommend or share products and locations they like to generate sales for their clients. Instead, Needium operates more like a searchlight mounted on the beacon of social media technology while it unrelentingly pursues needs that are expressed but not satisfied. Once it identifies such a need it engages with the potential consumer in a friendly and personable fashion while it connects them to its client who is, presumably, capable and happy to fulfill the need expressed earlier.
The Needium model is interesting for a few reasons. It offers its clientele the opportunity to outsource their social media presence while they instead continue to concentrate on their core competencies. For instance, the locksmith who uses Needium will probably be better off taking the time to grow their expertise with respect to the service they offer rather than investing the time it would take to become an expert in social media marketing. Needium offers the locksmith the opportunity to gain a tangible competitive advantage without embarking on a long trial and error process to learn the ins and outs of social media.
It’s also important to note that many companies with what some would consider advanced social network presences are, in essence, using social media the same way they use television and print media. While television and print media offer firms a brilliant one directional platform to communicate their value, social media offers the capacity for two way communication and Needium seems to be one of the few companies making the most of that potential. The future of social media marketing has to belong to those who can successfully take the opinions, feelings, wants, and needs expressed online and re-interpret them as marketing opportunities that can be fulfilled by specific products or services. Any company that involves themselves in social media marketing but fails to do this is most likely using the platform the same way they would other types of media and is failing to employ an optimized marketing strategy. So, not only does Needium offer a service to remove the complexities of day to day social media marketing from companies whose core competencies are focuses elsewhere, it executes a marketing strategy that makes the most of social media technology.
Needium also offers a licensing option for companies who would like to use the service for their clients. As stated on their website “Currently, Needium’s resellers include marketing agencies, local media publishers (newspapers, directory publishers), city guide publishers and any other channels aimed at local businesses.” This could be a prudent strategy as it would seem reasonable to assume many larger companies have already outsourced their marketing needs to third party agencies and it would not really make sense for them to switch from an agency that offers multi-media marketing and advertising to a firm like Needium whose focus is more narrowly defined.
Needium certainly seems positioned well to take advantage of what should be an already large and rapidly growing industry. They offer a service with real value that can be easily communicated and quantified for their clients. They’ve come up with a way of offering a marketing service in a unique fashion and are one of the few firms that offer their specific service. Their success, like any company’s, will most likely depend on how well they execute on the premise of their business and how well they are able to continue adapt their model towards meeting the needs of their clients in a way that cannot be easily duplicated by their competitors.