As social media continues its assault onto the mainstream audience, one of the side-effects has been the emergence of the view that marketing isn't allowed in the space. Conversations on blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and elsewhere are vocal in the opinion that marketing is dead; we choose who we buy from and whose reputation we ruin; what gets our eyeballs and what doesn't. Simply put, old school is dead; long live the King (of new media school). And, to a degree, it's correct - old school is dead. But let's not get too carried away by our new best friend social media, either.
Any time a new marketing platform comes out means that the "old school" is dead as it was; but now you use it in conjunction with the new. The view that we (as consumers) have all the power and that brands now need to listen to us is nothing new. Sure, we have a soapbox on which we can stand now that allows us to share our likes, dislikes and outright hatred of a brand, product or service, and to a worldwide audience looking for the next fix of brand assassination on YouTube. But at the same time, is this really new? Haven't we always had the power over brands? It doesn't matter how great advertising, marketing or PR messages are -if we don't like something, we vote with our wallets. This has been happening since the dawn of the first trade agreement. Just because Coca-Cola runs a great Christmas advertising campaign doesn't mean I'm going to suddenly buy Coca-Cola. I don't like the stuff, so their marketing and advertising is lost on me.
The view that social media has allowed us to force marketers to think differently isn't completely true either. Good marketers have always planned with their audience in mind - it's one of the key tenets to marketing in the first place. We don't just come up with an idea and hope it works - like a duck on water, there's a lot more going on that you can't see, while the pretty stuff on public view looks effortless.
Additionally, good marketers have always known when a message is right, if the timing is there, and reacted as a campaign has progressed, using analytics and feedback. Kind of like Twitter does now, or blog posts - the main difference is now you have instantaneous feedback to work from, as opposed to waiting on figures coming in from print or TV/radio media.
There's no doubt that social media is one of the biggest changes in the marketing (and business in general) landscape when it comes to tracking, measurement and engagement prior to, and after, the launch of a product or service. But to say that it means marketing is no longer needed is missing the boat slightly. Like any sound business, the good marketing tactics will work and the lesser ones won't. But isn't that how it's always been? Danny Brown - Canadian Marketing Blog - Canadian Marketing Association by CMA on behalf of Danny Brown