Marketing and Social Media

Marketing expert, Erik Qualman, has been quoted saying that globally, more people own a cellular or digital device than a toothbrush.  This has huge implications for the way businesses market to a vast audience of a digitally connected society.  Most companies have taken to social media platforms to tout their wares, but not all of them find success in what is often unfamiliar territory, relying on marketing strategies designed for a more traditional ad campaign. To target a new audience with new media, companies need different ways to present their content that will appeal to a wired generation, but they also must avoid alienating other customer bases.  This should not be a cause for alarm; advertising does not need a complete overhaul and many of its rules do and will hold true, but companies will need to take extra care developing cohesive strategies for selling their products through multiple avenues.

The necessity to research the market remains intensive, time consuming is absolutely unskippable. An amazing product that can’t reach its target audience may as well sink into oblivion. Trusty surveys are still a valuable, readily available (and often very cheap or even free) tool for information gathering that have the added bonus of not requiring much time to produce or process. The importance of marketing research leads to another point: although social media is booming as a marketing platform, it may not be the right avenue for every product. Millennials are happy to interact over Twitter with businesses, but Baby Boomers feel more comfortable communicating over the phone (with an actual person, please) or by email. Each business will have to strike its own balance between traditional and budding avenues, but avoid putting all their eggs in one basket. It’s easy to see social media marketing as the golden goose given how inundated business sites are with twitter marketing tips, but this does not mean other marketing types and strategies have become obsolete.

Abandoning conventional strategies can build interest when it comes to video advertising, which has been employed in most marketing campaigns but has changed noticeably over the last few years. Ads don’t need to be informative as much as bright, clever, and easy to share.  Entertainment value makes consumers remember your product in an age of short attention spans and clickbait, when ads can be skipped over after 10 seconds and every standard dish soap commercial looks more or less the same. Forgoing the traditional narrative has been proven to be super effective in recent campaigns— think of Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.” Named one of the best and most memorable marketing campaigns by a multitude of business sites, Old Spice’s initial advertisement and ensuing series of response videos have achieved meme status and remain funny and relevant five years after their debut. This is especially important because these videos eschew the traditional structure of an ad in favor of what can only be described as visual and narrative absurdity. This campaign is an excellent example of marketing that bridges mainstream avenues and social media, catching the attention of a television audience while also running an interactive YouTube page and video campaign that encouraged involvement by younger consumers. Old Spice’s marketing team struck an enviable balance.

Other popular campaigns can be found at AdAge, where the success of the Old Spice ads receives a more in-depth analysis; each of these marketing projects is worth a look for their inventiveness and many are good examples of campaigns that reach their target audiences and then some.



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