Social Media is marketing. I would hope that the majority of marketers would agree with that statement. This brings up another point. Marketing is fluid. It changes--even on a daily basis. Marketing 10 years ago would not have considered Social Media as part marketing. But it is now because marketing is fluid. A good marketer takes time out of each day to read online trade journals and stay current with what's going on industry. Marketing is no longer just ads in print publications or direct mail. It's more sophisticated and technology based. This shouldn't be news to anyone in the industry. But for newbies out there, let's clarify the scope of marketing and what falls under this ever growing spectrum.
Yes, marketing does include print media. Although this is dwindling, it does make sense to use newspapers and magazines to advertise. Do I think this industry will eventually disappear? Perhaps. But for now, there are target audiences who prefer to hold a piece of paper versus read something on a screen. I will say that most newspapers and magazines are (if they already haven't) moving towards an online version. Entrepreneur Magazine, for instance, has a print magazine as well as an online version. I subscribe to their print edition and love it. I like thumbing through articles on the weekend. But when I find something worth sharing, I go to the website and share it with my social networks. Although, I did notice that their print edition is not synced to their website. The March edition is not live online yet.
I would advise against blindly advertising with print. It is rather expensive. I would run a cost benefit analysis. If your target market uses print, what is your actual ROI? Would you have a better ROI if you advertised online with the same publication?
This is where marketing is fluid. Online Marketing today is different from Online Marketing 10 years ago. And it will continue to change and grow as technology progresses. Online Marketing now includes:
- Website development
- Email marketing
- Paid advertising (PPC)
- Social Media
All of these components of marketing are intertwined. They should work together. Do you know what all of the above should have in common? Keywords. Some, including myself, would say that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) touches all of the components of Online Marketing because consumers use keywords to not only search, but scan content to find what they're looking for.
And yes, marketing includes Social Media. It's another way to reach your target market on a more grass roots level. You have to compete with a lot of online noise. Consumers, whether B2B or B2C, are looking for a special connection-- a way to interact with a company or brand to feel like the dollars they spend are worth it. Social Media is very effective when it comes to connecting with your consumer. You can send messages fairly quickly in response to a post your consumer makes. In return, the consumer gets instant satisfaction knowing that you took the time to acknowledge their concerns.
Customer Service, Sales, and Marketing
One last take away before I go back to enjoying my Sunday morning. Customer Service, Sales, and marketing should all work together cohesively. The sales and marketing relationship should be symbiotic. Sales needs to close deals. They should rely on their marketing department for materials to do that. Sales and marketing messaging should be the same. Once the sale is closed, that same messaging needs to go Customer Service. You'd think that would be understood. But I've witnessed many companies where the communication didn't exist or it was lost between these three departments. Customer Service needs to be able to fully answer questions and solve issues with the same information customers received during the sale process. Customer Service should also be aware of current marketing efforts so they're not caught off guard.
I could go into more detail on any of this. If you do have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. Send me an email and I'll respond as soon as I can.