Advantages of Social Media Marketing Over Traditional Marketing Tools

To effectively reach out to people who can initiate and sustain word-of-mouth communications, as those identified by Gladwell (2000), the platforms for marketing messages must be well informed. Whereas tools such as Television, radio and at times the Internet have the capacity to target a large section of the society within a short time, these lack the requirement needed to target people such as connectors, mavens and sales persons, due to their generalized approach (Wright et al., 2010). For such people, a relationship marketing approach, intent on building “mutually satisfying long-term relationships” is necessary (Keller & Kotler, 2009, as cited in Wright et al., 2010, p. 76). Such relationships, according to Wright et al., are only possible when organizations “understand and respond to customer needs and goals” (2010, p. 76). With social networking tools e.g. Twitter and Facebook that have the ability to automatically segment markets, the social media has provided marketers with effective tools through which they can target specific groups of people (Wright et al., 2010). For instance, customers are provided with the ability to customize individual pages to ensure that only the information they find relevant gets their attention (Wright et al., 2010). Additionally, evolving technology in social media tools allow marketers to be in touch with the customer all-day long in a direct manner (Wright et al. 2010). This is exemplified by websites that allow users to set their accounts that send recent activity to the customers’ accounts in the social networking tools (Wright et al. 2010). This presents marketers with an additional way through which they could target connectors, mavens and sales persons with messages that would motivate these types of individuals to spread the word to people of the groups to which they are members.

Another advantage that arises from social media is the relatively low costs in terms of expenditures towards getting the message across. While traditional media would require substantial investment especially to place advertisements during prime time, all one using a social media such as twitter needs to do is post a message, “tweet”, on ones account, for instance, offering a special treat, and people who are interested could then re-post such messages on their profiles, thus attracting a wide-targeted coverage (Wright et al., 2010). Such low-cost characteristic of social media is reinforced by reports indicating that such ways are becoming more effective than the traditional methods. Bernoff (2009, p.1), for instance notes that one of the lessons that the recent recession has provided to the marketers is that “interactive marketing is more effective, and advertising less effective, per dollar spent.” Such observations are informed on a survey by Forrester Research Inc., which found out that six out of every 10 marketers had the intention to increase their budgets for interactive marketing activities by shifting expenditures on traditional marketing (Bernoff, 2009, p. 1). Further, more than 70 percent of the surveyed had indicated that channels such as established social media, mobile marketing and online video were bound to increase their effectiveness, as compared to the effectiveness of methods such as direct mail, magazines, TV, and radio, which more than half of the respondents indicated would remain constant for the following 3-year period (Bernoff, 2009, p. 1).

The indicated low cost and effectiveness of social media is especially important for small scale enterprises. It is for instance argued that through social media tools, small businesses could compete favorably with large businesses (“Being sociable,” 2010). In this respect, despite the large resources in terms of individuals who can second the entity’s product at the disposal of large organizations, the article notes that social media presents small entity’s with inexpensive tools through which they can express themselves honestly about their services, thus attract some customer base with which they can shape further communication (“Being sociable,” 2010). With the popularity of the social media set to increase thus making traditional channels more ineffective in comparison (Bernoff, 2009), social media thus presents a sound opportunity for small businesses, which could not afford exorbitant marketing costs, to grow their brands through online communities. Go to part 4 here.

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