I recently received a newsletter in which one of the articles was titled
"4 Reasons Marketing Shouldn’t Control Social Media"
You can read the article here As I was reaching for my soap box, I thought maybe I should read it first. Whilst I still disagree with the basic premise, it brings up some interesting issues. Not least, the nature of “Marketing” in the internet age. Taking a look at the 4 reasons:
- Marketers simply use social media to mix holiday messages and discounts with standard sales and marketing content.” and this is not what customers want
- Social media practitioners (marketers) try to be all things to all people in order to keep their audiences engaged – Rather than doing this good brands must know their niche
- Marketing departments adopt social campaigns that do little more than offer discounts and coupons, training consumers to wait until that next discount is offered before they make that next purchase.
- Sales, customer service, product development, and nearly every other department bring something to bear in the corporate-consumer relationship that [this type of] marketing cannot
I have to say that I pretty much agree with all of these statements, but it suggests that in the eyes of the author, the definition of Marketing has somewhat narrowed to a point where it is not really marketing anymore. it is sales promotion.
What is Good Marketing
Marketing is about identifying the value that your organisation adds to its marketplace, and then creating and communicating that message in a manner that engages with your audience. Encouraging them to see you as the best supplier for their needs. A significant part of this long term, and is about building a relationship with a customer. However in the world of e-commerce, marketing has become highly transactional process:
A leads to B leads to C leads to a sale
and “marketing” is all about optimising this conversion process. Whilst converting people from not being customers into customers is key, in most cases things are not that simple. The “marketing” process outlined in the article suggests that its all about tinkering with A B and C to increase conversion rates. Whilst good marketing is about introducing D E and F. Whist these in themselves may not directly impact the conversion rates, they create an environment which makes conversion more likely.
To use an analogy of Angling,
Fishermen use ground bait to attract the fish, and get them into a feeding mode. Into that environment they than place the hook. Increasing the likelihood that they will get a bite. The process outlined in the article suggests marketing is all about the hook, whereas much of good marketing should be about laying the ground bait! Although maybe angling is not a good analogy for the process of building a relationship of trust with your marketplace, hopefully you get my point! Ultimately marketing should be the custodian of the process by which a company:
- Identifies the value that the organisation adds to its marketplace
- Creates a message that communicates this value
- Communicates this message in a manner that engages with the audience
As social media is a key tool in this process, I would suggest that good marketers are the perfect people to manage it.