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Social Media – hype or value add to Marketing?


At an ANZ Marketing Forum recently, A renowned Marketing academic who delivered the key note address questioned the wisdom of Marketers being over zealous about Social media 1 He went on to warn about the dangers of blindly jumping on the Social Media band wagon.  As much as this came as a shock wave to some, to others in that audience it was a not so radical statement.

Allow me to remind that Marketing academics such as Philip Kotler propagated “Social Marketing” back in the 1970’s long before the Internet as we know of today was even invented.  (Kotler & Zoltman 1971). Kotler wrote about galvanizing “social” communities back then.

However, here lies some key differences. The “Social” medium as we refer to it today has far more greater audience reach, is more instantaneous, and popular than it ever has been. The technology available to both Marketers and consumers to engage dynamically is vastly different from any other era known to us. Tuning into the radio just this morning, I heard that with new real time bus apps bus users in Sydney will be able to use their smart phones to track how far away their next bus is. Amazing!

From a Marketers standpoint, the technology available to engage in “push” Marketing as well as to track consumer sentiment, and measure Marketing $$$ spent on “on line” has never been available like this in the past.

However, the main thrust of this blog is this:

For practicing Marketers, Social Media should not be confused with Strategy. Building Marketing Strategy involves staying true to a rigorous set of Strategic planning principles and modelling.  Social Media therefore is the tactical outcome of that strategy. Social Media is today’s new “above the line”. It is a pervasive medium used to reach the target market. In using Social Media Marketers still need to exercise good Marketing rigor of Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning as well as selecting the right Social Media “mix” to achieve maximum target audience reach.  Whilst Social Media has captured the global attention and has indeed come to the forefront of Marketing communication, it is also an unknown maze where you can squander a lot of un-accounted for Marketing $$$. So, just as much you would apply ROMI on traditional media spend (IE. TARPS, Cost Per Thousand etc.), it is imperative similar analysis like Click Through Rates (CTR), Cost Per Click (CPC), and Real Time Engagement be used in order to ensure the right social media “mix”  is selected.

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  1. Cathy permalink

    Very interesting, keep it up!

  2. Hi Kathy, Thanks for the feedback.

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