Twitter - an effective marketing channel as told by the Mars Lander.

The NASA Mars Lander was a highly watched experiment, by the world’s scientific, space faring and geological community. The possibility of life on the Red Planet, and any fears of attacks from Martians, due to constant jibes by Bugs Bunny have to be inspected! (And kids if you don’t know what I’m talking about here, you need to watch some Looney Tunes – the Original ones )

It is another fact of this whole operation that the digital marketing community should also look at this project, as a correct way of how to propel a subscription based model of providing information.

Ok let me give some details, Phoenix – the Mars Lander – created a Twitter profile and was twittering away through all of the 5 months of its mission, till its demise on the 10th of November. Ok so it wasn’t twittering itself, the Mission crew created the profile, but the point is that it was a simple way to bring the mission to the people and to add some relevance & mass appeal to what may be a defunct agency.

So what were the statistics – Over 5 Months, 39,032 Unique Subscribers (Twitter calls them followers) who received 605 updates. That a willing receipt of 4 messages a day on avg. WOW!!

What marketer, traditional or digital should ignore a channel where you can get a willing subscriber base that is willing to receive this much communication.

Not that this is an isolated example, in the recent US presidential elections, The Obama faction (sorry my quirk, I like to call all political parties everywhere – factions) also made relevant use off Twitter, giving campaign updates and sending campaign messaging.

CNN also uses twitter to publish live news with a link to the story

So, how should you use twitter.

Well the very first thing is to establish, can your brand and product utilize the short message system that is twitter and its clones. The next step Рand this is the toughie Рis to generate the content. You cannot pollute the  content stream with generic branding messages, the messaging has to be crisp, concise and relevant. After all by subscribing to you, people are giving you their mind-space.

As an aside to this story… The Mars Lander also wrote a final guest blog on Gizmodo. There was a constant series of guest posts on Gizmodo, while the mission was on.

Oh and by the way if you thought the twitter feed  was dreamt up by a top dollar Media agency, think again, this was all the brain child of one Veronica McGregor at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab. I guess we can all learn from her.