Marketing in its most crude description has meant the art of selling. It is the art of subtle( not any more) persuasion that originally was meant for convincing someone to buy something. Today that definition holds true except that in many cases there is an add on to it. It still involves convincing people to buy something, the difference is, you might not really need it. And that is why it is such an art today- no longer is marketing about telling the audiences about availability. It’s about telling them about the plenty that is available and getting them to choose ‘you’ over the other hundred options. It is precisely for this reason that today there is a distinction between Social Media Marketing or New Age Marketing and Traditional Marketing. In every sense of the term, Social Media Marketing is here to stay.
In the beginning, when marketing was all about telling your audiences about where they could find you, marketing was simple. It was all about getting together a good sales team who would be able to put up an interesting campaign in place along with their partner ad agency, to come up with a catchy snazzy ad campaign that could not fail. Add to this an interesting sales agenda and profits would sky rocket with the blink of an eye lid. But then what happened when Company X had a good marketing team and Company Y had a good marketing team too? Along side came A and B and C… Soon the market was too crowded and standing out was important to survive, to get noticed. It was no more just about letting the audience know that ‘I am good and I can be found here’ it was about telling them how your product was better than the many available in the market. So dawned the age of New age Marketing.
In this form of marketing, no stones are left unturned and no attempts are left behind to capture the attention of the ever elusive ‘Target Audience’. The Consumer here is King and there is nothing that is good enough to win him over. This form of marketing believes in the concept of IMC or Integrated Marketing Communications which involves a heady mix of advertisements, events, blogging, direct marketing etc. it is a lot of everything and everything in a lot. Today products follow us wherever we go. Whether you are traveling in a bus or watching a movie or booking your tickets online, there is always a tiny corner peeking out from somewhere asking you to take notice of it- asking you to pick them over the others. This is Social Media Marketing and it has just begun. For all those who believe that they make their own choices on what they want and what they don’t, think again. Unconsciously if not consciously we are trained constantly to choose a product over the other. We are being bombarded by images and events through varied channels of communication in the media to buy things, things we need, things we don’t need and things we think we need. This is the power of social media marketing.
The power of social media marketing lies in its marriage with media itself. Today the media acts as an agent for marketing in a way. Most newspapers today are just one giant flier- each page devoted to another product or company. One switches on the television only to realize that most channels have hours of interactive TV advertising which run late into the night- and most of the time they even work. Most movies are ‘the place’ for product placement as they reach out to wide audiences. Everything, right from houses to cars and even fridges are shown as a part of a deeper scheme of reaching out to the audience in every possible way.
What this essentially means is that traditional marketing is passé. Not that it did not have its own merits, it cannot exist in today’s day and age. It cannot survive in this world that is fraught with competition and multiple choices. However it is this marketing that has given birth to the new age marketing or social media marketing.
It is to be understood that this new form of marketing has just begun. It is in its nascent stages and has eons to go before it matures. Through IMC, it has only attempted to make a start at the journey that it is on. Not to be misunderstood, this journey is not for the faint hearted. For this new age marketing is bold and forthright and is filled with challenges at every step. And for those who thought marketing was a tough place to be in, this is just the trailer. Social Media Marketing has just begun.