Q&A: John Noe, CEO, Rokkan

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John Noe, Rokkan
John Noe, Rokkan

John Noe, Rokkan's CEO, discusses the relationship between brands' websites and Facebook pages.

Q: Given capabilities such as site retargeting and landing page optimization, brands' sites seem to be now as much direct marketing vehicles as they are brand advertising vehicles. Would 
you agree?

A: I think that's 100% right. I think a lot of it goes down to segmentation and all the different use cases. If you're thinking about travel sites, [it's] being very thoughtful of how a traveler who lives in Florida might be looking for a very different kind of travel than a person who lives in New York. We find a lot of interesting things. For example, for people who are customers of a particular brand, the audience on 
Facebook is sometimes different than the audience on Twitter versus the audience on the dot-com. 

Q: Many TV ad calls-to-action drive consumers to a brand's Facebook page instead of its own site. Is there a danger there?

A: It depends on the company. There are companies that are pure-play e-commerce, so they're going to want to drive people to their e-commerce site. I'd be surprised if eBay started pitching its Facebook page more than eBay.com. But there are also the brands that don't sell directly. We work with a lot of liquor brands and they can't sell on their sites. Then it becomes more about how are we building awareness of this particular brand or its products and how do we start bringing them into a channel where it can have some of those looser, more informal conversations about the brand?

Q: Does driving consumers to 
a Facebook page impact the 
value of a non-e-commerce 
marketer's own site?

A: I think it does change the dynamics quite a bit. I think some of the trick is taking in what the different purposes are between how we're using social channels versus our branded dot-com channels. A lot of what we found is that especially with brands that are lifestyle brands, it's very important to be able to deliver on what the lifestyle of that particular brand is — and sometimes what's more effective than a really nice piece of copy or visual is 
the conversations that 
are happening.

Q: There's a push toward brands integrating social into their dot-com presence. How much of a challenge is that?

A: It is new, and I honestly can't think of anyone who's doing it perfectly. I think the brands that are most hungry to figure this out are the ones that are the e-commerce players. How do we make shopping more social online? Shopping offline is a very social experience, but on the sites it tends to be very singular. So we've been looking at how to weave social into the shopping experience, so that it can either aid an individual's shopping or it becomes a group effort.

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