Social Marketing – the Next Big Thing

A long time ago in University, the Next Big Thing was the Internet.  Among the proclamations was that the Internet was going to render all other forms of advertising irrelevant.  The Internet was going to change everything in marketing.

I hear a lot of the same thing being said of social marketing these days, and I repeat what my Professor had to say to this ‘Hogwash’.

Yes, Social Marketing is important.  Yes, it has altered how we communicate.  Yes, it’s providing some great returns.  Sometimes.   However, it’s worth noting that it is a tool, and should be considered only one of a variety of tools at a marketers disposal.

Here’s an example.  In 2006; I worked for an e-commerce company that generated 80% of its revenue and leads from Search Engine Marketing.  It took me 6 months, but I finally convinced the CEO to allow me to do offline marketing.

We set up a new website and then  I took out a series of print advertisements in a magazine.  In 3 months, we had generated an ROI of 4.  In 12, our monthly ROI was 20.  3 years later, the company generates 50% of it’s revenue from offline advertising.

The fact is, your customers will have diverse viewing habits. Some might only do e-mail.  Others social websites.  Others, just skim the news and some favourite websites.  And even more might just not use the Internet at all except for work.

Your marketing plan must encompass all of these, or else you’ll just be fishing in the same spot repeatedly.  Sooner or late, that spot is going to go bare for new customers.