The “Brand” New Thing: Gateway Marketing
by Mitch Thrower
“Gateway Marketing” is the marketing’s industry’s new spark. I’d consider it one of—if not the most—powerful marketing tool today – it’s also a dangerous fire that you should watch closely. Are you wondering what Gateway Marketing is and why you have not heard of it? If so, don’t fret because I just made the term up to describe my latest marketing initiatives for the world’s largest triathlon magazine, Triathlete Magazine, based just up the street in Encinitas, CA.
To understand what Gateway Marketing is, first visualize your company’s website along with your sales and marketing objectives—then think MySpace.com, think YouTube.com, aSmallWorld.net, orkut.com, Veoh.com, SecondLife.com, TagWorld.com, msnSpaces.com or any of the other 93 worthwhile social networking sites, video and free community sites available at the click of a mouse. If you develop a profile for your company in these online communities, these sites become ‘gateways.’
Just to emphasize the magnitude of social networking, there are well over 25,000 sites on the Internet that use social networking and offer user generated content options – this number is growing exponentially.
It has been said that every person is connected within six degrees of separation – online, it’s closer to 3. Three people, three clicks, three seconds. Imagine the magnitude of people you are able to reach solely through online social networks—the possibilities are infinite. These sites both enable and facilitate global networking and brand presence on a colossal level.
Companies, bands and charities worldwide have used this form of marketing for years; unfortunately, it has historically been a disorganized and aggressive race to market on as many free websites as possible. What has been missing from the marketers toolbox is structure. Companies do not just want to get their name on every site possible, but rather distinguish and develop your brand on the best sites possible.
I lead a small swat team that tracks the top 93 social networks by building a series of online “Gateway” pages and personalities. As an example, Triathlete Magazine is up and running on many of these ‘gateways.’ You can check out it’s MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/triathletemagazine. The sites we manage provide teaser and leading content that do three things: interests viewers, educates them on our sport and directs them to our core website www.triathletemag.com.
Social networks allow us to target and attract new viewers that would never have found our site otherwise. It essentially plants a seed that—if done right—instantly grows. The best part is that once you develop a ‘gateway,’ it works self-sufficiently. All you need to do is monitor and update it accordingly. Now, more than ever, it is time to add Gateway Marketing to your companies branding strategy.
Does your company use any Gateway Marketing strategies? How else can this concept be utilized? What are the dangers?
Mitch Thrower is an author, financier, triathlete, entrepreneur and philanthropist living in La Jolla, California and New York City, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org