Ten Ways New Media has Changed the Face of Marketing
Mar 29, 2013, by SMSS
The consumer of today is a very different creature from the consumer of fifty years ago. The development of the Internet, the creation of the social network, and the birth of new media have changed everything, from the way we communicate to the way we entertain ourselves straight down to the way we think. As a result, marketing tactics which may once have worked are now completely irrelevant, and organizations which take a traditional approach to customer relations are very likely to find themselves in the dust of their competitors.
In other words, the game has changed. The world of marketing has evolved alongside new media, and what has resulted is a system which would have been completely unrecognizable - and, perhaps, wholly absurd - to a marketing professional just a few short decades ago. Just as new media has changed the consumer, it's also changed the professional - and the way those professionals communicate.
A Whole New Toolkit
Today's marketer may have to deal with an overwhelming torrent of information, but coupled with this they've also got a powerful new toolkit to work with. New forms of content provide a powerful new avenue of communication with the end user, while a host of new metrics, measurement tools, and management platforms help provide a framework in which advertising information can be analyzed.
Further, there's the matter of the shift towards mobile - something which a marketer ignores only at their own peril. Advertising has undergone a shift towards a more mobile, visual vein: it's up to you to utilize the new tools that come with this shift to the best of your abilities. Keep on top of them, as well - things are changing so rapidly now that unless you continually study and upgrade your set of tools, you'll find yourself getting lost.
Power to the People
One of the biggest changes brought about by new media is that it enables everyone - from the small business owner to the corporate executive to the convenience store clerk - to make themselves heard. Anyone can become a powerful force of influence, and everyone has a voice. This has completely changed how people view marketing.
We are no longer passive consumers. We expect immediate responses to our queries, quick gratification to our desires, and advertising campaigns that don't treat us as walking wallets. We expect to be respected rather than treated as sales leads. Oh, and our attention spans have gotten shorter. What was I talking about again?
One of the most powerful things about new media - social media in particular - is that it allows an organization to establish a direct discourse with its customers. This is an extremely powerful tool, one which should not be taken for granted. Just as people have moved from passive consumers to active customers, the dynamic of the consumer-business relationship has changed from one of passive monologues to an active, two-way discussion. If your brand has yet to reform its behavior to fit with this new dynamic, you'd best look into making it happen soon.
Otherwise, people might just take their business to your more personable competitors. And speaking of competition...
Competition has Kicked into Overdrive
Remember how I said everyone has a voice in social media? That includes business professionals, from small, mid-level, and large organizations alike. More and more organizations are discovering the merits of social media and moving in to take a piece of the pie. What this means for you is that you're going to have more competition - and don't make the mistake of thinking that the consumer isn't aware of this.
For every gaffe you make, that's at least a few people who might abandon your brand and start looking elsewhere. They'll have a lot to choose from, so watch your step.
A Narrowing of Niches
Back in the old days of marketing broad, far-reaching advertisements were fairly common. Though the marketing division order to reach the widest consumer base possible. There was no way of knowing, beyond active research, whether or not a particular group of consumers fit into your demographic. The impersonal nature of older advertising mediums necessitated such an approach. Social media suffers from no such pitfall - consumers make available vast stores of information about their interests and demographic, allowing organizations to tailor their messages far more readily than was possible before.
Within the people-focused arena of social media, marketing campaigns have become far more niche, zeroing in on consumers with laser precision.
More Marketing Freedom
Let's be honest - you can do a lot more with an online, new-media marketing campaign than you ever could in a traditional advertising medium. Social networks provide a low-cost advertising platform which, if used correctly, can get the word out far, far more effectively than any other form of marketing. While there are still a few "dos" and "don'ts" to online advertising - and a few tactics which simply will not work - marketers as a general rule have far more freedom now than they ever did before.
Time is Money is Effort
All that power and freedom does come at a cost, however - running a social campaign is an extremely demanding, time-consuming task, which demands the highest level of creativity and hours upon hours of your time. It's not really something for the faint of heart: if you're not prepared to work hard, put your best foot forward, and remain connected on a near 24/7 basis, social marketing might not be for you.
It's the same deal with all new media - a piece of content isn't going to go viral unless it catches the eye of your target demographic. In order for it to do that, creativity is key - coupled with a good sense of humor.
The Sales Funnel is Broken
Let's be honest - new media has taken the traditional sales funnel, chewed it up, then spat what was left out into the sun. The Internet has completely broken the sales funnel beyond repair. The standard, linear path which purchases (theoretically) used to follow has instead been replaced by a vast, complex, interconnected web of interest, desire, clickthroughs, brand awareness and user engagement. The only question remaining is whether or not the model was ever really relevant to begin with.
From Ideas to Experiences
Advertising today isn't just about one-off TV spots and attention-grabbing radio advertisements. It's about grabbing the user's attention, then holding it. In what could very well be termed the culture of distraction, this is no easy task. The process of marketing has hence transformed from one of ideas into one of experiences. You're not trying to vomit out your brand concept and sales pitch in one fell swoop - instead, you're trying to cultivate a relationship with the customer, then foster a positive reputation with them so that they'll be likelier to buy from you in the future.
A Business-Wide Effort
With all that we've covered here today, you probably won't be surprised to hear that advertising should no longer be a task left solely to the marketing division. Instead, to pull off a successful advertising campaign is a company-wide effort. In order to accommodate the new technologies that go hand-in-hand with new media, an organization needs to reshape its entire infrastructure, and rethink the way it operates.