In Your Words 2: Classic Marketing vs. Social Media
Social media has changed the way that we as consumers ingest information about the millions of products and services that are available to us. It used to be that a company in the early stages of advertising their brand would create a marketing strategy that spanned over a pre-determined time and set out to accomplish very specific goals using a unidirectional line of communication with potential customers. Today, customers have more power than ever through the use of social media and have challenged marketers to meet them where they are and sell a product through honesty and engagement at a time that is arranged by the customer on their own terms. Scheduling and direction of communication have seen the most dynamic changes in marketing strategy and should be analyzed for their contributions in the relationship between marketer and consumer.
Scheduling has definitely gotten better for the marketer in the social media world because now marketers can engage with potential consumers at a time when they are the most engaged with their product and more often than ever. Rather than buying a pre-determined slot on a Super Bowl game where you hope to reach the largest population of football watching men in the market for a new hair care product, social media and internet analytics have allowed marketers to find customers when they are searching online for hair care. Social media has even allowed marketers to engage customers when they are talking amongst their peers about hair care needs and concerns. Occasionally, social media is still scheduled in a classical way in order to create engagement at a time when many customers are potentially already engaged. Hashtags, for example, might be pushed out to the customer at a specific time during a television program in order to create the most engagement possible for that television program. We see this often on some of the large networks, including NBC, who uses this practice weekly during America’s Got Talent to get people engaged with the show, though you can’t REALLY call this long-ranging marketing.
Direction of communication has also seen major changes as a result of social media and has benefitted the consumer by giving them more power than ever before. Engaging a consumer on these platforms has given consumers a voice and made their influence among their peers more important to marketers. A great example of this just happened recently in one of classes in fact when a classmate’s positive Facebook words for the FedEx Company were received by FedEx and even responded to. Just that willingness to engage alone makes the company more personable and still gives a perceived level of power to the consumer making them feel their voice and opinions were important. There is a flip side to this however and a negative impact might be the difficulty in “turning off” these outlets as consumers. As active purveyors of information are now all around us, we may no longer be able to stop taking in marketed information even when we do not know we are. Allowing companies to enter in to the social arena has given them a power we as consumers might not always want to “give away.” Overall though, this shift in marketing strategy should prove to be better through its ability to put the consumer closer to the product and giving the consumer more power.