With the emergence of internet-based social media it has made it possible for people to communicate with thousands of other people around the world about products and the companies that provide these goods and services to them. Accordingly, the impact of consumer to consumer communications has been tremendously heightened within the marketplace. Many people would argue that social media is a hybrid element for promoting a company and its products, considering that in the traditional sense it allows companies to speak directly to their customers, while in a nontraditional sense it enables customers to talk directly to one another.
The information, timing, and volume of social media-based conversations that occur between consumers are outside of a managers’ direct control. This goes against any traditional integrated marketing communications where there is a high sense of control from the manager. Thus, it is the managers’ responsibility to learn how to shape a consumers discussion in a manner that is consistent with their organizations mission statement and performance goals (Kerin, Hartley & Rudelius, 2009).
Traditional marketing techniques involve direct mail, trade shows, television, radio broadcasting and social events which are still very prevalent and are still heavily used by many companies around the world to market products and the services offered by their companies. Marketing through television provides companies mass exposure to a wide array of individuals with a mass message. Many businesses don’t realize that television can often be one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. The advantages of television are that it has everything needed to catch the attention of your projected audience: audio and visual. Community based television stations which are often looking for advertisers and are more willing to accommodate advertisers because of a less rigid schedule. Newspapers and classifieds are becoming increasingly popular and is a great way to target clients at a reasonable cost. The yellow pages have become a commonplace for companies who want to locate their specific business needs. Another way for businesses to market is with brochures, these are a great way of advertising a business.
Depending on the type of business, brochures can be extremely useful. For a business that is in the industry of travel or tourism, brochures are a must, and there are multitudes of places where they can be displayed for customers to view. If a business is in a different type of industry it may be a little more difficult to find locations to display brochures, except to use them in mail drops, as handouts at trade shows and conventions, or for a direct mail out to potential customers. If a company is a manufacturer or supplier, it will need to provide their brochures to a distribution network. Brochures are a great way to market, but a company should make sure they are a cost-effective use of your time and investment, and if a company is going to produce brochures, they should know ahead of time how and where they will distribute them.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing represents low cost tools that are used to combine technology and social interaction with the use of words. These are typically internet based. Social media gives marketers a voice and allows them to communicate with their current customers and potential customers. Companies are able to personalize their brand and it gives them a way to spread their message in a relaxed and conversational way. Many people used to think Facebook was just for teens and young adults. Companies did not see much value for the social media site. That is all slowly changing though. Several companies are using Facebook to market their products and are seeing great success.
Consider the following statistics provided between September 2008 and February 2009 the number of Facebook users between the ages of thirty five and forty four increased by 51%, user among the ages 45-54 jumped up 47 % and user ages 26-34 increased by 26 % more then half of Facebooks 140 million users are out of college. Clearly, social media is no longer just for the college student. Facebook is used as a marketing tool because it is easy to gain new clients, promote new products and services while offing deals and sales and staying in touch with your customers (Zarrella , 2009).
Social media can be used to provide an identity for the products and services that a company has to offer. It can also create relationships using social media with people who might not otherwise know about a company’s products or services or what our companies represents. If a company wants new customers and retain their current ones they must establish a good relationship. Social media can be used to associate one’s self with their peers, which could be serving the same target market. It could also be used to communicate and provide an interaction with the consumers a company is looking for.
There are many advantages to using social media as a marketing tool for a company. However a company cannot just depend on social media alone to market their company, they must integrate it with other vehicles of marketing. While social media can create awareness for a company, it may not be the right form of advertising for a company. Companies must be consistent with any form of marketing that it chooses to use. The role that social media plays in the marketing of a company is to use it as a communication tool that allows a company access to those interested in their product and makes the company visible to those who do not know what services and products a particular company has to offer. It can be used as a tool to create a personality behind a company’s brand and create relationships that otherwise may never have happened.
Social media cannot only create repeat-buyers for companies, but also customer loyalty. The fact that social media is so diversified and it can be used in several different ways, ways that best suit the interest and the needs of a company shows that it is a good source of marketing for any business (McAdams, Neslund & Zucker, 2008). The form of marketing that a company uses really comes down to what type of audience the company is trying to attract and what they can ultimately afford to spend on adverting and marketing for the company. Any of the marketing techniques work a company just has to be consistent with the form they choose to use. Social media marketing is the way of the future and is not going to go away anytime soon.
Zarrella , D. (2009). The social media marketing book.
Kerin, R. A., Hartley, S. W., & Rudelius, W. (2009). Marketing. (9 ed.). McGraw-Hill/Irwin
McAdams, T., Neslund, N., & Zucker, K. D. (2008). Law, business, and society. (Ninth ed.). McGraw-Hill/Irwin.
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