In our previous entry, we discussed the recent American Marketing Association virtual event, Cracking the Code: Advanced Social Media Strategies. It is more apparent than ever that social media has become essential to any company that wants to remain on the cutting edge of marketing. The event’s presenters delved deep into the issues surrounding the increasing need for an integration of social media into marketing strategy.
All speakers observed that marketing is changing. Response through outbound media (TV, print ads, radio, and direct mail) is becoming more difficult for marketers, and is being replaced by inbound media (blogs, search engines, word of mouth). There has been a huge explosion in the use of online social media, leading to a dramatic shift in power from marketer to consumer. In the field of marketing, we are seeing a move from a monologue to a dialogue, with consumers dictating the relationship and increasing accountability. All of the presenters emphasized that marketers now need to be highly responsive to consumer feedback, and engage in conversations with the consumer.
Companies which can adapt to today’s consumer-driven market will be best poised for both short-term growth and longevity. Brian Solice, author of Engage and Principal of FutureWorks, pointed out that the average social network user spends 1.5 times more dollars than the average Internet user. As more and more detailed consumer information becomes available online through social networking and other media platforms, niche markets can be targeted with greater precision than ever. Harnessing this consumer information results in more leads.
In the world of Web 2.0, the ability to understand and optimize one’s visibility in popular search engines is critical to a company’s social media success. Content is key. More content generates greater consumer interest by affording the consumer more meaningful opportunities to interact with the brand and personalize their experience. In particular, establishing a strong presence in the blogging world, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will lead to greater success.
One of the biggest advantages of Web 2.0 is that marketing has also become consumer-driven. User-generated content on applications such as Twitter, and user-driven content on websites such as Digg present companies with inexpensive and effective methods to increase their brand’s awareness online. Consumers are becoming more and more influential in how other consumers think. Therefore, it’s become important to make your brand not only interesting, but really interesting to persuade a consumer to not just passively observe, but actively share that information with another consumer.
Dave Evans, the Author and Co-Founder of Digital Voodoo, discussed the importance of using the inundation of information for metrics and analysis. Companies should use this information to measure their ROI by setting targets and objectives, measuring success, and calculating customer satisfaction and involvement. Using tools such as Google Analytics, Radian6, and BlogPulse, companies can effectively quantify consumer’s interactions with them via social media, and use that information to create the most effective integrated marketing program possible.
While many companies are intimidated by the dramatic changes that social media has brought to the world of marketing, social media also presents great advantages and opportunities for companies to communicate with smaller and more individualized target markets, down to the individual. If a company knows how to properly utilize the growing power of social media, an integrated marketing program can be extremely beneficial for its brand and its bottom line.
AMA’s Cracking the Code was a highly informative and thorough dive into the topics surrounding marketing and social media. The lectures are currently available on demand on the American Marketing Association’s website.