How Social Media Redefines Integrated Marketing

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Remember those days when people talked about integrated marketing? They were referring to channels and media — print, TV, radio, event, Internet and so on. By now, we’ve come of age in terms of “integrating” marketing. Marketing has become such an integrated discipline that it’s impossible to do “marketing” and “advertising” apart from technologies used by consumers on a day-to-day basis. What are these day-to-day technologies? All of the social media tools available online – one integrated channel, all for free.
Imagine a world of advertising and marketing purely online – no more direct mail, newspapers and magazines. The focus will be on the consumers, users and fans – they will help us popularize our brand, spread our messaging and generate more content. Sounds like a marketing utopia, doesn’t it?
This is all reality now, with the advent of social media. Assuming every product or service has a dedicated website (with an eCommerce engine to take customer orders), a Blog to share information and knowledge, a Facebook page to create a fan base (generate business leads), a Twitter account to cultivate followers (more business leads), a LinkedIn group to interact with industry communities (more leads and publicity for your business), a YouTube channel for its latest product or service offering (free advertising online), and a marketing/advertising powerhouse behind all these tools to push the technology envelope to its limit – I think we’ve got something pretty powerful going on here.
If all of the above (except for a marketing/advertising powerhouse, which takes time and talent to build up) are absolutely free for use, then why isn’t every company embracing and adopting social media? Why is there still a great deal of skepticism, myths and under-information lingering out there about the intent and power of social media tools? Let’s take on “under-information” for a moment here. How many company CEOs and business owners are taking time to read up on these tools? Yes, they may have people working for them who know something about social media, and they may even have a marketing department in the company whose main mission is to drive sales and advertising programs, but are these folks informing their C-level management about these tools with a sense of clarity and urgency? Are these folks believers of social media itself?

Social media tools are things you can’t simply read up on like you do about computers, cameras or refrigerators. These are interactive, creative and living technologies that grow and change with users and developers every day. One has to dive in, play with the tools, test-drive them and make them part of your life. (Live and breathe them!) Majority of these social media tools can be embedded and adapted across different sites. To integrate them into your sales/marketing/advertising strategy is NOT difficult if you are clear about the objectives and audience you’re trying to hit, come up with a strategy and implement the technologies required to fulfill your strategy. Implementation is KEY. Without integrating these tools as essential elements of your business marketing process, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the abundance of features, functions and benefits these tools have to offer.

I still think we’re coming close to a marketing utopia, if we’re not there yet…


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