For this week’s assignment, we’ve been asked to compare and contrast two aspects of classic marketing and social media marketing. Although there are a world of differences between them, the two aspects I’ve chosen to evaluate are direction of communication and availability.
Direction of Communication
In the classic marketing approach, communication is considered to be unidirectional. In other words, information is spread by the company (active), and customers/consumers can only listen (passive). In social media marketing, communication is considered to be bidirectional, meaning that both the company and the customers have the opportunity to talk and listen. In this particular aspect, I think that the social media approach is better and more fair. In order to succeed in today’s world, businesses need to listen to their customers. Constructive feedback, whether positive or negative, can drive sales. A recent small business article on FoxBusiness.com provides the following tip for success. “Your customers provide the best form of advertisement and a source of non-dilutive capital. If you make time for your customers, they will make time for you.” In fact, two thirds of consumers across age groups want companies to respond to online comments on social media platforms.
With social media, companies are held more accountable for their actions. Social media marketing means that customer feedback can be seen by all. A bad review about a company on Facebook, Twitter, Yelp or TripAdvisor could easily lead to a decrease in sales or customer visits. That being said, the best way to succeed in today’s world is for businesses to provide top-notch customer service and utilize an integrated marketing communications strategy that consists of both classic and social media marketing.
For instance, Nike is one such company that has understood the shift in media and how to successfully navigate today’s digital world. “It has employed new forms of advertising on new media channels as they hit critical mass, and it has shown just how close to the consumer companies have to be to stay front of mind” (Young, 2010, p. 19). Today’s campaigns need to be multimedia and multichannel, such as is the case TV commercials that feature hashtags to facilitate online conversations about a particular brand.
In classic marketing, customers can only receive support during regular business hours. On the other hand, social media marketing allows for permanent communication. A business is ready to react to assist customers with any issue they might be having or respond to customer feedback at any hour because social media doesn’t sleep. Nowadays, people are less likely to call up a company to complain/praise a company or request assistance because people don’t always have the time it takes to wait on hold or call during regular business hours. JetBlue, for example, is known for being extremely responsive to those who mention the brand on Twitter, whether their comments are positive or negative. JetBlue’s commitment includes 20 to 25 full- and part-time employees that are responsible for social and other customer-service tasks. Two or three staffers are always on call, and at least one person constantly monitors social channels in case a rapid response is required. Nike even has a separate Twitter handle, @NikeSupport, to handle customer service requests in the best way possible. Seamless, an online food ordering service, that serves customers in several time zones across the United States and in London offers customer service support 24 hours a day.
Twitter is one such social media channel where customers expect quick responses. As a result, you’ll likely want to respond to mentions and inquiries quickly. Many companies dedicate full-time employees to the task of responding to customers and potential customers on Twitter. Overall, I think the social media marketing approach is best for dealing with customer issues/requests that require immediate attention. However, a classic marketing approach would probably be best for dealing with more private matters that cannot be as easily solved via direct messaging on Twitter or private messaging on Facebook.
Successful marketing campaigns should strive for a balance between classic and social media marketing. Utilizing both can maximum a company’s exposure. When you add social media marketing to a classic marketing approach, it helps businesses stay on the path of success. Customers don’t mind watching TV commercials when they have another outlet, such as Facebook or Twitter, to voice their opinions. Regardless of which traditional marketing channels you opt for, it’s always important to have a social media plan to satisfy your customers.