3 Key Reasons Why Traditional Marketers Have Hard Time Adapting to Social Media Marketing


It is not uncommon that we have seen marketer just post their print ad or TV ad on social media and gets no traffic or viral effect at all. In some cases, they get a lot of embarrassing negative comments that everybody can see. In some worst case, the poor Ad or content get copied and posted on forum or other social channels which get to be a second life as a laughing stock. Such poor performance comes from copy and pasting traditional marketing and promotion strategies onto the new internet and social media platform.

Internet and Social Media based platforms are very different and the consumer behaviors are very different from traditional media. If the marketers are not careful and they just mindlessly copy and paste they (or other) have done in the past (on traditional channels) and paste it on social media channel, the campaigns are destine to fail. It's not like that they are lazy or not thinking but they first have to be aware of the issues before they have a solution. Many of the marketer who still don't know how to leverage social media channels may have to do with simple fact that they have assumed the same consumer behavior in front of an ad or promotional piece of content. The marketer needs to first recognize the different in consumer behavior on social media. To be aware of the different (hence the issue or the challenge) will lead us to the solution (the improvement of social media skills). Here are 3 major areas worth mentioning.


  1. Consumer Can Switch Anytime on Internet, Unlike Traditional Monopolized Channel.  Traditional marketing executive are use to pushing one way message to their audience who are locked in a few channels.

    Traditional media are usually high in entry barrier. As a result, there are only a few good choices and audiences are use to sit and wait until next good show. That means that they will sit and watch your tv ad while they don't want to leave their sofa. Advertisers post their ad frequently so that the brand images or whatever messages drive into the audience's mind by simple repetitiveness. Traditional marketer get use to such monopolized one way pushing of their marketing message. As a result, the traditional advertisement are usually impression based brand building one way message riding on a near-monopolized distribution channel. In a way, if a banner ad is designed to be impression based and very attractive to watch it can still do much brand awareness building to consumer. However, Banner Ad is closer to the traditional world and it's not social media marketing.
  2. Consumers are Interacting with The Promotion vs One Way communication. Traditional marketers do not monitor the feed back in real time and do not react to real time time analytic.

    Imagine on a broadcasting TV, even on cable TV, ads are just one way. Marketer does not collect response in real time. They get use to doing post campaign customer survey and reading high level reports on the event. Seldom that they change the campaign strategies in real time based on real time data.

    That said, there is nothing wrong with that as long as everybody else are doing the same thing, which means less competition. However, if the marketer knows how to interact and adjust their campaign positively, they earn the respect from consumers and get the viral reward!
  3. Content Marketing vs. Simple Brand Pushing Content. Traditional marketers produce only a few advertisement and push their ad through high frequency and broadcasting network with their marketing dollar. They don't need to produce interactive and engaging content on daily basis.

    Traditional channel such as broadcast tv platforms offer limited choices in channels and limited time. They are available in high price only to the rich company who can afford and obtained guaranteed ad impressions.  While marketers were forced to do 10 to 20 sec TV ad or quarter page or half page print ad in high price, they are get to force the audience to see their ad content even the ad were not so attractive. Traditional marketer get use to this way of thinking. On internet, even if the markers are buying the google ad, they have to bid against millions of other advertisers to get their ad on the top positions. If the ad does not perform without attracting consumer to click through, google would not even serve the ad to the public. On Social Media, it's easy to setup your page on facebook or twitter. It's relatively easy, still, to buy ad and promote your page to earn a few followers. But it's hard and demand for the marketer produce repeatedly and consistently attractive and engaging content. This is more a editorial job than marketing job. (However, even traditional editor are not use to doing interactive and engaging content. This is another story.)
These points may sound obvious and we have been talking about them over the last couple of decades. From banner ad to pay per click ad to now social media marketing, the landscape of digital marketing has expanded tremendously. The channel choices are growing rapidly. The ways of interaction between marketer and consumer are also growing rapidly. And please don't forget that all of these hard earned social media properties and the follower relationships are still owned by the social media platform such as Facebook and Twitter. Marketer must derive short term strategies to leverage these highly popular social network and yet have to have long term lasting strategic to get the follower relationship convert back to their own CRM database.

Today's highly technical and digital oriented social media marketing requires a lot of real time data analysis, database design and web and app infrastructure. It is a lot more challenging for marketing executives. It's not fair to ask traditional marketing executives to know it all. The creative talent and the analytical skills are rather conflicting and is rare to be found within one person. While everybody has to learn and improve, the quickest way is to source a team of talents so that they would work together as a team. Such team will likely to have traditional marketing executives, content marketing executives, developers and data analyst. Whoever the leader in the team must learn to respect and motivate the team members to offer their different talents and integrate them into one smooth campaign. 



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