Social Media: Just One Piece of the Marketing PuzzleJosh Cline | Wednesday, May 25th, 2011 | No Comments »
By Josh Cline
In a prior post entitled “You’re on the First Page of Google – Now What,” we warned traditional and online marketers not to think of search-engine optimization (SEO) and search-engine marketing (SEM) as digital Holy Grails that will magically bring profits. The same is true for social-media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (despite the doubling of the latter’s stock price after its recent IPO).
Just as owning a website was not enough to survive the dot-com boom (does anyone remember Pets.com?), so does the use of search-engine keywords or a Facebook page by itself not guarantee instant success today. Quality marketing has always involved – and always will involve – the use of different methods for different purposes.
Any marketing firm or consultant who promises skyrocketing sales just as a result of some Facebook marketing needs to be shown the digital door (and be given a copy of a Marketing 101 textbook from business school). As Peter Shankman rightly notes:
Being an expert in Social Media is like being an expert at taking the bread out of the refrigerator. You might be the best bread-taker-outer in the world, but you know what? The goal is to make an amazing sandwich, and you can’t do that if all you’ve done in your life is taken the bread out of the fridge.
Social Media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social Media, by itself, will not help you.
In the olden days (say, before 1990), marketers were limited in the number of mediums through which they would broadcast the messages of their companies or clients. For the most part, the available vehicles were print, radio, and television – and the marketers needed to determine what resources and money to allocate to each medium through processes like researching the demographics of prospective customers.
The exact-same process is still relevant to marketing and public relations today – it is just harder because the number of options has increased to include print, radio, television, SEO, SEM, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, guerrilla marketing, and social-media marketing (SMM). Just to name a few.
Each tactic has its positives and negatives. For example: Social media may or may not help with public-relations, and it may or may not even be useful to your company at all. The same is true for each tactic. But the principle remains that the overall strategy of a company may need to include these tactics to varying degrees, depending on the firm’s goals and resources. It is important to work with marketing professionals who think holistically and know how to map a marketing strategy to a company’s business goals.
Globalization and the Internet both led to a mass-segmentation and personalization of the market. In other words, there is no such thing as a “mass market” anymore – instead, there are millions of small, niche markets that need to be targeted differently and through numerous methods.
To become successful in such an environment, it is increasingly important to use strategic-marketing practices that integrate all of these mediums and methods in a way that is specifically tailored to a company’s marketing and public-relations goals.
The other side of the argument: SEO MOZ has a rebuttal to Shankman’s blog-post that I mentioned above. Read both to understand both sides of the issue.