In a few short years, social media has come to the forefront of our lives. As companies cut back on billboards and launch crusades for ‘Likes’, it seems as though the entire marketing landscape has changed. Many content marketing ‘Specialists’ want you to believe that all your old skills and tactics are useless and part of a dinosaur era. They want you to think that while you have years of marketing experience, your knowledge just won’t cut it in the world of new media.
But when you break it down, marketing on Facebook and YouTube, through blogs, Tweets, Pins and Likes, has one very important thing in common with the ‘old’ marketing techniques: It’s still marketing. And marketing has always and will always stay true to its roots. Although technology has changed the way content and messages are delivered, the fundamentals of marketing remain the same.
So which marketing tenets remain essential in the new marketing landscape?
It All Starts with a Relevant Brand Story
Articulating a company’s brand story has always been the first step towards developing a successful communications program. The brand story defines the brand’s personality and character, acting as the platform for the brand’s communications both internally and with its customers. A powerful brand story creates a strong brand experience and a deep emotional connection with its audience. It is not your product on its own, but the story it tells, that makes your brand unique and memorable. Though marketing is being conducted through new channels, the importance of articulating a powerful and unique story remains essential.
Your Communications Program Needs a Solid Strategy
Just as “old” marketing required a marketing strategy produced by a marketing team, “new” marketing requires the same diligence and intelligence. While the content distribution channels have shifted, the importance of planning has not. Any company that thinks creating a Facebook account and chocking it full of posts will bring any advantage to their business is sure to have their bubble burst. New media requires the same research and knowledge that has always been at the center of a communications strategy.
You need to know your target audience, which channels they’re using, where they are interacting, and what type of content they want to see. Furthermore, once your content is distributed, you need to be able to properly analyze its performance, just as before. Without a clear-cut strategy based on a comprehensive understanding of your target market, your marketing efforts won’t be effective.
Looking Professional is Not an Option
No company would shoot their nation-wide advertisement with their smart phone or let their intern design their print ad. Yet, somehow, the “casual” nature of social media platforms has fostered the belief that it’s okay for new media to have a homemade appearance. A professional knows how to present content, size images properly, which resolution to use, how to use color, and the countless other variables that will make your platforms stand out. While the voice of your tweets or the concept of your images may be more casual, the execution needs to be carried out by a specialist.
The history of marketing follows a succession of shifting technologies, from print, to radio, to television, and now to online platforms. While the new media channels have enabled new possibilities, in the end, they are simply the latest shift in technology; the fundamentals for producing a successful marketing program remain the same. The key here is not reinventing the wheel, but rather, enhancing the tried and tested foundations of marketing to get that wheel rolling as powerfully as it possibly can.