The job of a marketer before social media was vastly different from what it is today. Back then, ad campaigns essentially involved broad market research, theorizing about what sells and creating messages one hoped would work. The entire process was rather speculative and unaccountable. Industry sayings like I know half of my advertising dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half reflect how unpredictable ad campaigns can be. Today, thanks to social media, marketing campaigns are far more interactive and customer-focused. Surveys, polls, contests and blog posts are all used to determine what customers are thinking and feeling, rather than guessing.
Below are several forms of marketing that can be profitably replaced with social media.
The most redeeming feature of social media-driven marketing is that it engages people and features a call to action. Viewers are invariably asked to participate in some form of response mechanism, such as visiting a blog or voting on a poll. Because of this, social media marketing tends to be quite simple to track. Billboards, on the other hand, are the epitome of unaccountable marketing. As direct response guru Perry Marshall warns:
“When you see a billboard with some bizarre picture mated with an obtuse slogan and a short, vague message about how XYZ company will change your life for the better, don’t be fooled into thinking that it works, because it probably doesn’t.”
Any company’s marketing dollars are limited, and social media should make you all the more skeptical of spending those dollars on outdated, untargeted billboard creatives. If you can bring buyers into your funnel with blogging or video at a measurable return on investment, advertising on billboards is like throwing money down a black hole.
Advertisements on the sides of public buses and taxi cabs suffer from a similar problem. Because they are only witnessed for a few seconds, these ads tend to feature eye-catching messages that may or may not actually sell anything. As such, this is another type of marketing ripe for replacing with social media. Unless your company makes products related to automotive travel, your marketing dollars are probably better spent by developing a following on Twitter or Facebook. After all, it’s awfully difficult to meaningfully engage someone who is passing by at 30MPH on a city street.
A shocking number of television commercials are completely untargeted. A common example is when women’s beauty or hygiene products are advertised during NFL football games. Predictably, money spent on such campaigns is usually wasted because the audience is not interested. If your company advertises on television, social media should serve as a wake-up call. Do a thorough inventory of your TV promotions and be honest about whether they are targeted and producing bottom-line results. Why spend money on ineffectual TV advertising when those same dollars can help build a loyal following of online fans who want to hear from you?
Junk Mail & Spam
Spam and junk mail are forms of marketing whose weaknesses cry out for redress from social media. The cardinal sin of both methods is that fundamentally, you are interrupting people. Rarely (if ever) is the recipient of an unsolicited e-mail or envelope already thinking about what you sell. Instead, your message forces its way into their lives, which is why it usually goes straight into the trash. If you want to be welcomed and sought out by prospects (rather than ignored by them), consider investing in a social media presence that engages people with real interest in your products or services.
Telemarketing (also known as dialing for dollars) is another form of marketing on its last legs. Like spam and junk mail, telemarketing is ineffective because it is an interruption rather than a welcomed part of the customer’s buying process. Even legitimate companies with valuable products or services to sell are rarely given much respect when they market in this manner. Instead of harassing people in their private homes, why not offer a carefully selected handful of prospects a free, enticing bonus (like a special report or product sample) in exchange for subscribing to your blog? Those who have genuine interest in your company are likely to be amenable to this, and if they aren’t, they certainly wont be any more responsive to cold calls.
Newspaper circulars will always exist in some form or another. Some claim that they cannot be replaced, because, after all, so many consumers still look at them each week. However, the true test of a marketing message is whether it sells, not whether people look at it. Sure enough, newspaper circulars are frequently adored by window shoppers rather than those with serious, near-term interest in buying. While there is some value in cultivating prospects via newspapers, a company stretched for marketing dollars might be better served building a community of enthusiastic prospects through social media channels.
About the Author: Dan Wesley is the CEO of Credit Loan. Established in 1998, Creditloan.com has been providing insight, advice and news on a range of financial topics, such as personal loans, debt consolidation and cash advances. In addition to the thousands of articles, you will also find reputable service providers and tools that will help you with all of your budgeting needs.