Pop the Cork: Unleashing Pinterest's Marketing Potential

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Though many social networks have come and gone--R.I.P. MySpace--others have established themselves as key players in the marketing space. Facebook and Twitter, of course, are indomitable forces of nature. But, according to Forrester's recent "Pinterest Is Not Ready For Prime Time" report, this fairly new social network may just be on the cusp of greatness.
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Though many social networks have come and gone--R.I.P. MySpace--others have established themselves as key players in the marketing space. Facebook and Twitter, of course, are indomitable forces of nature. But, according to Forrester's recent "Pinterest Is Not Ready For Prime Time" report, this fairly new social network may just be on the cusp of greatness.Within the last five years, Pinterest has truly made its mark on consumers across the country. Twenty-one percent of U.S. online adults visit Pinterest at least monthly--more than both Instagram (16 percent) and Google+ (16 percent)--making it the third most popular social network after Facebook (70 percent) and Twitter (22 percent). Yet, despite its rising popularity, marketers find little value from branded boards, which clearly indicates room for growth.

Overall, marketing leaders remain confused, as few comprehend how to leverage Pinterest in ways that will promote proactive marketing behaviors. Forrester notes that only 56 percent of leading brands have created Pinterest boards. Those that have established their presence, however, neglect to post regularly, collect few followers, and see little engagement. Brands recognize Pinterest's potential, but fail to execute strategies that drive results, as the social network's ads currently offer limited targeting and effectiveness. You see, while Pinterest collects vast amounts of user data, marketers only have access to a tiny fraction of this information. Thus, Forrester's report urges Pinterest to help marketers bring this insight to action so they may power ads in other channels.

Pinterest's CEO, Ben Silbermann, once said that, while Facebook users share what they've done, Pinterest users share what they'll do in the future. But, due to Pinterest's present limitations, its marketing value must rely upon future innovation, as well. Forrester emphasizes that, with user data in their possession, brands will be able to pinpoint consumer intentions, enabling them to better target ads across all media and positioning Pinterest as an ideal marketing tool.

Some retailers, such as Nordstrom and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, have started blending Pinterest with their in-store strategy. Nordstrom displays its most popular "pins" to show shoppers what's currently trending online, while Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores encourages brick-and-mortar customers to explore their Pinterest page for creative projects and decorating ideas. Rumors have also begun to circulate about Pinterest's elusive "buy" button, which would allow online shoppers to purchase items directly through the social network itself, effectively curtailing the time between consideration and commitment. Pinterest has the potential to revolutionize customer engagement, but only time can tell how this social medium will impact marketing initiative nationwide.

Does your company currently use Pinterest to engage consumers? How has the social network altered your overall marketing strategy? Tell us in the comments below!

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