The marketing landscape has changed more over the last five years than it did over the last 50. Social media has crunched the change in marketing tools, systems and the whole playing field by about a century, it would seem and changed the communication industry beyond recognition.
No one can really claim to understand what social media is about. Today it is the biggest area of excitement, concern as well as awe. For marketing professionals, the new media is a paradox, great power but with great responsibility. Though it is merely a medium, the communication opportunities and insights it can potentially provide can make or break in equal measure. A couple of things deserve special mention in this new business paradigm.
Firstly, till a few years ago, messaging was completely dependent on what you wanted to tell the market. But social media has turned that upside down. Today, it is the customer who validates the message, decides the effect and reacts accordingly. In addition, social media gives the customer the ability to derive real time insights and even amplify those insights in the market. We marketers need to be extremely wary and quick on our toes. With negligible control over the effect of our messaging, there is no option of unreal information or overrated claims.
The biggest challenge facing marketers is- how do I give my client a personalised experience while offering the advantage that mass production creates? Today, organisations that can effectively use social media to understand what the customers want and provide the exact fit are the successful ones. Increasing mobility has added real time knowledge sharing to the existing networks and the oceans of opinions is going larger through social media. This also warrants quick responses and quicker utilization of opportunities that are thrown up. The individual’s group connectivity is another factor that marketers have to learn to utilise effectively.
Added to these is the fact that the new generation is wired for technology, making old communication techniques redundant. The worldwide web has made the whole world a teeming marketplace where all the wares and their sellers are trying to outshout each other in a bid to be heard. In the meantime, this is also a hotbed of customer information, and in fact there are agencies that are using analytics applications to churn out data on what customers want.
There are newer tools to determine the customer preferences. Increasingly demanding preferences are being efficiently met. Tools that impart the ability to churn a lot of that information into actionable products are cutting a clear path through the chaos.
Technology thus helps make sense of the new upside down world, where customer is not only king but also the state, and sellers need to work on a completely gutted playing field.
Also read: Marketing in the new world - Part 2