In Your Words 2: Classic Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Looking at some of the differences between classic marketing and social media marketing, it’s clear that times are changing. As such, the way communicators market ideas, products and services to particular audiences has also changed. One of the aspects I want to talk about is availabilityIt’s no secret that today’s technology-driven society demands constant interaction between businesses and consumers, but how does that affect marketing strategies? Let’s take a further look.

Availability

One of the main differences between old-school (classical) marketing and new-school (social media) marketing is the aspect of availability. As detailed in the chart provided in class, the classic approach contends that marketers are available only during work hours, with no support beyond those regular working hours. On the other hand, social media marketing requires permanent availability. This around-the-clock concept is necessary in order to provide instant reaction to customer requests and comments.

This piece by Susan Gunelius highlights 10 laws of social media marketing, with No. 9 fitting in nicely with this discussion. According to Gunelius, the Law of Accessibility can be described as:

“Don’t publish your content and then disappear. Be available to your audience. That means you need to consistently publish content and participate in conversations. Followers online can be fickle and they won’t hesitate to replace you if you disappear for weeks or months.”

The point here is that social media marketers must maintain active communication channels. Posting an article and wiping your hands clean simply doesn’t cut it. Instead, these marketers must not only share content through different social media avenues but also engage with the audience through comment channels and other feedback mechanisms.

To me, the availability aspect of social media marketing is vastly superior to the classic approach. In today’s world, there’s simply too much competition to avoid putting in the round-the-clock effort to build and maintain an engaged audience. From an availability standpoint, channels like Facebook and Twitter immediately come to mind, as businesses can respond to comments, questions and requests in an instant. They can also provide fresh content or advertisements in seconds and gauge feedback immediately. That timeliness is what makes social media marketing a more effective tool in today’s society over the classical approach. While there are other aspects of marketing that may be better from a classical perspective, there’s no doubt that having permanent availability in today’s age is a huge benefit for social media marketers. In fact, it shouldn’t even be a benefit; it should be a requirement.

Communication with Customer 

Going along with the availability aspect, the way in which marketers communicate with their customers is also an interesting aspect to consider. In essence, this comes down to an issue of privacy and transparency. Does a company benefit from making customer responses public? Or is it better to handle issues behind closed doors? There are certainly cases for both, which makes this an interesting topic for discussion.

From a classical standpoint, communication with the customer is carefully crafted. To some people, that probably has a negative connotation. However, at times this approach is beneficial, especially when there are legal issues involved. One bad tweet or poorly crafted post could spell big trouble for a company. Instead, a classical marketer will take the time to review a statement or response before sending it to a customer or making it public. As a journalism major with a background in editing, that methodological, deliberate approach makes a lot of sense.

On the other hand, I certainly think there are benefits to having more open communication with a customer. For instance, startup companies or franchises can build a lot of brand equity within an area by maintaining positive, open interaction with its customer base.

In this Forbes article by Kelly Clay, she highlights a unique experience in which her blog post elicited a direct Twitter message from the company and she was subsequently sent a gift card due to a bad shopping experience she had. This story is simply a microcosm of the effectiveness of solid customer communication via social media. Businesses have so many tools available to keep tabs on what customers are saying about them and their products, and it only makes sense to take advantage of those tools. Even a story like Clay’s can go a long way toward improving a brand’s image, especially for potential customers.

Even small steps like responding to poor reviews on Amazon or Yelp are examples of how social media marketing and customer communication can be extremely helpful. Showing that concerted effort to at least address a customer’s issue and provide a solution can really improve a company’s image and credibility. Overall, I’d say both aspects I highlighted above are more effective from a social media marketing standpoint, thought that’s not a blanket statement in all cases.

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