Social Media Marketing
Internet Technology, Marketing, and Security
Date of Submission:
Table of Contents
Social Media –New Era of Marketing.. 1
Advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing.. 2
Pepsi- Refreshing the world of marketing.. 3
Social Marketing @ Evian and Dunkin Donuts. 5
Social Media – Preparing for Next-gen Marketing Tool.. 7
Social Media –New Era of Marketing
The advent of internet technology has undoubtedly marked the beginning of a new era of infinite connectivity and information. The conservative rules of marketing are being challenged by the generation which is more knowledgeable and is always looking for new avenues to gain more of it. There is a new breed of internet users who are pushing all limits of expectations and magnanimously accepting the digital changes. According to ComScore (2011), social networking is the most popular online activity worldwide accounting for nearly 1 in every 5 minutes spent online in October 2011, and reaches 82 percent of the world’s Internet population, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe. Coca cola has more than 49 mn fans on Facebook. US consumers spent $50 bn in retail ecommerce in Q4 in 2011 which is a 145 increase than last year (comScore, 2012). Social networking is beyond cultural and geographical differences. According to comScore (2011) whitepaper, in 2011, Twitter was used as a central means of communication during events of worldwide and national significance, ranging from political uprisings in the Middle East to disasters, such as the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Among the most tweeted moments in 2011 according to Twitter were political events such as the death of Osama bin Laden, celebratory moments such as New Year, and news about Steve Jobs’ resignation from Apple and consequent passing. The use of social media in Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign was widely accepted by the nation. Any organization aspiring to survive in the current times cannot afford to ignore these statistics. And those planning to succeed must strive to understand this new hybrid element of the promotion mix inside out.
Social media marketing usually means the use of internet based resources via broadband or mobile devices to promote, advertize or communicate. Facebook, twitter, orkut, MySpace, youtube, linkedIn, pinterest and blogs are some very prominent examples of social media. There are many factors contributing to the success of marketing through social media such as unlimited accessibility and interactive mode of communication. Response and feedback about a product is almost instantaneous and transparent and hence it helps companies to innovate and provide what is exactly in demand. Social marketing defies the conventional marketing strategy of “pushing” the product in the market. Instead it has created tremendous awareness amongst the consumers, thus “pulling” the desired product into the market. Websites and blogs interacting with the consumers and propagating information not only about their products and services but also about the organizations’ philanthropic efforts go a long way in creating a brand value and brand loyalty. Relatively small expenses incurred in social marketing has made it a preferred choice for big and small businesses equally.
Advantages and disadvantages of social media marketing
Like all other tools of promotion, social marketing also has some inherent advantages and disadvantages. Though the success of some of the latest social campaigns is celebrated, one has to be cautious about the threats as this is a completely new medium of communication in the marketing world. Some of the most lucrative advantages of social marketing that makes it a very relevant marketing tool in contemporary businesses are listed below:-
Unlimited accessibility – Social media marketing surpasses all other promotion tools in terms of people it can reach. The visibility of the product and the organization increases manifold on internet based resources. Google + took less than a month to reach 25 million unique visitors.
- Cost effective and high return on investment – The cost of marketing digitally is apparently negligible vis a vis any other marketing tactic such as a television or print commercial and translates into a higher ROI. This is extremely lucrative for small companies with slim marketing budgets. The number of potential customers that can be tapped using the same campaign in practically unlimited.
- Interactive communication- The impact of consumer to consumer and consumer to marketer communication is phenomenal. Two-way communication gives a better understanding about the customer’s perception about the brand. Also, the feedback and response in almost instant unlike traditional methods of advertising where the marketers had to wait for a complete purchase cycle to receive the feedback about a new product.
- Dynamic advertising – Since the cost of technology is not very high, the promotions can be customized and updated frequently according to the changes in the market. In fact, it is highly important to keep the content relevant and updated to maintain high interest about the campaign.
The world of social media is full of promises for the businesses but there are certain disadvantages lurking in the background. However, these are perceived risks which can be handled tactfully to reap the full benefits.
- Since the consumer-marketer communication happens on an open platform, the competitors know the “moves” and can plan to counter-act.
- Technological know is imperative to create and manage social marketing. Coupling creativity with technology is an important challenge for the organizations working to enter the new zone.
- Unreasonable customers’ demands and negative publicity are a part of the marketing game. Since social media platform is open to all, there can be instances of unreasonable customers and negative publicity.
Pepsi- Refreshing the world of marketing
Pepsico, a market leader in food and beverages industry, is present in more than 200 countries with 22 brands. With annual revenues of more than US$65 bn, Pepsico is committed towards sustainable growth through its “Performance with purpose” mission. High standards of ethics and integrity have made Pepsi a synonym for diverse and inclusive work culture translating into quality productivity. Pepsico is committed to delivering sustained growth through empowered people acting responsibly and building trust (Pepsico, 2012).
Pepsi ads are globally applauded by the youth for energy and vigor. Pepsi spent almost $ 3.4 bn in advertising and marketing in 2010.(Pepsico, 2011). On January 13, 2010, Pepsico launched their “Refresh project” with an aim to foster innovation in social good. The main idea behind the campaign was to provide financial aid to those passionate about bringing a positive change in the society. The campaign invited customers and organizations to visit the website and submit their constructive and refreshing ideas in categories of arts & Culture, health, food & shelter, environment, community and Education that could make a positive impact on the society. The winners selected through online voting will be awarded financial grants to the tune of US $20 mn in total. Being voted as one of the top five Best Ever Social Media Campaigns by Forbes, Refresh project had more than 6.6 mn registered voters and 80 mn votes casted (Pepsico, 2011). Within 97 of the top 100 local media markets covering the campaign, there were 3.39 billion media impressions for the Pepsi Refresh Project
The unprecedented success of this campaign has proved the efficiency and response of a well-designed social media campaign. Refresh project had a multidimensional effect on the image of the organization. It reiterated its commitment towards sustainable growth and created a top of the mind recall for the brand. According to Shiv Singh, head of digital for PepsiCo Beverage America (NY Times, 30 Jan 2011):
“This was not a corporate philanthropy effort. This was using brand dollars [in] the belief that when you use these brand dollars to have consumers share ideas to change the world, the consumers will win, the brand will win, and the community will win.”
Bypassing conventional strategy of flashy celebrity studded advertisements for a new generation promotion campaign was a decision based on the need to acknowledge the customer shift towards social media. Pepsi understood that engaging customers especially the youth in a social media project will help creating a consumer friendly brand. Though the success of refresh project did not translate into increased revenues for Pepsi, but that is something which was not actually targeted by the campaign. The company considered this an investment to recreate brand awareness and foster a strong and trustworthy relationship with the customers.
Social Marketing at Evian and Dunkin Donuts
Evian is a leading natural mineral water brand from France. Evian’s first global campaign “Live Young” in 2009 featured 96 animated babies dancing to the tune of “rapper’s delight” in a one-minute long video. The video was launched on TV and internet almost simultaneously.. The video which showed animated babies perform various moves on roller skates rapping along promotes the effects of Evian, naturally pure and balanced mineral water on your body. Though the video was criticized for its graphical shortcomings, it went on to become the most viewed online ad ever with 42.5mn views till November 2009 (Guinnesswoldrecords, 2009). Researches show that over 80% of people in France or the US who saw the clip, considered discussing it and two thirds were ready to share it with friends. Facebook, which had over 440,000 fans on Evian’s fan page made this sharing easier along with Twitter, with the video being retweeted over 16,000 times. Though the ad was launched simultaneously on TV and internet, 95% of the people who spotted the advertisement on internet were not directed from TV. This fact substantiates the impact and visibility of marketing via social media.
Evian was looking to reestablish its image as a market leader in premium product of superior quality. And this campaign highlighted the brand’s promise of youth and precise health benefit of superior value. The aim was to use creative and fun filled spectacular content to make
the ad go viral on its own. Not only did this campaign create a buzz for the brand, it was boosted sales up by 11% versus an average of 7% in the industry (Evian, 2011).
Evian’s “Lets baby dance” is another attempt at customer engagement and viral marketing. The campaign invites customers to upload their funny dancing videos on the Evian website. The website also has a “live young community” which allows customers to post their pictures. However, both these campaigns could not replicate the success of roller babies.
Dunkin’ Donuts is a leading brand in baked goods and coffee chains operating in 32 countries through its 10,000 shops and franchisees. With its 32 types of donuts and a dozen coffee brands, Dunkin’ donuts serve more than 3 million customers per day (Dunkin’ Donuts, 2012). The company has been using many loyalty programs and promotions such as membership cards, “caught cold” giveaway. However, facebook fanpage strategy of Dunkin’ Donuts had tremendous success. “Keep It Coolatta” launched in June 2009 to promote Coolatta beverages invited fans to upload a their photo with one of the Coolatta beverages on the Fan Page wall, add the slogan “#CoolattaGiveaway”, and consequently update make the same picture their own profile picture. This gave them a chance to be a part of a daily giveaway which was randomly selected by Dunkin’ Donuts. The company not only awarded the prizes to the winner but also updated their official profile page with the winning image. The “grab it, snap it, post it, win it” campaign became a trending topic with the youth. With more than 7.1 million “likes” on its facebook page, Dunkin’ donuts extensively and creatively uses social media especially Facebook and twitter ( @dunkindonuts has more than 43000 followers) to create a buzz about its products and brands. Facebook fan of the week and creating your own donut write from the name to its ingredients are excellent ways of engaging customers with the brand. These campaigns encashed tremendously on word of mouth publicity from friends of friends on social networking sites.
Procter & Gamble’s Old Spice campaign using Isaish Mustafa on web to answer questions from facebook and twitter fans in real time, Burger King’s “subservient chicken” taking commands on the website and Ikea using facebook page as a launchpad for new products are some other successful social marketing campaigns of contemporary market. They have validated the effectiveness of the new age marketing tool as one of the best in terms of cost to returns equation.
Social Media – Preparing for Next-gen Marketing Tool
Marketers agree that digital tools and technologies are valuable, though many of their companies struggle to measure the financial impact and capture customer data. (Mckinsey, 2011). Similar to all other promotion tools in business, social marketing promises infinite benefits but also poses tremendous challenges to marketers. There exist a set of marketers who brush aside the social marketing as yet another bubble to be burst in a couple of years, the statistics suggest a promising future for internet based marketing resources. According to Nielsen’s Social Media Report for Q3 2011, social networks and blogs are still the main destinations online, accounting for a quarter of the time Americans spend on the Internet. Consumers have a preference for advice of their peers over advertisements making social media a powerful platform to influence and spread a word. Almost 60% of the social media users generate reviews of products, services or brands. Active users are found recommending and talking about the “likes” offline also.
The extent of impact of social marketing may vary in future but it cannot be completely ruled out. There is a change in the mindset of the customer and they are looking for new ways of communicating and aggregating in specialized niche online communities making it imperative for the marketer to think on the same lines and connect with them. (Ryan, D and Jones,C 2009). Some of the challenges that need attention by the new and existing businesses to survive in the era of social marketing as listed below:-
- Micro relevancy- Information overflow on the social platforms make it important for the promotional content to be very relevant. The target audience should connect with the content and find it effective enough to be pushed forward.
- Technological know-how – Content on the web needs constant customization and updation and marketers need to engage experts to handle social marketing.
- Measuring performance- Driving traffic to the desired website and translating the traffic to participate is an important aspect of social media and needs regular monitoring. Certain tools such as google analytics and SEOs solutions enable marketers to measure the performance and effectiveness of their campaigns. Collecting and interpreting data collected through such tools should be strategically used to produce more relevant and effective content.
- Tackling negative publicity- Being “open to all” can be exploited negatively by those looking for a moment of fame or compensation or running fraudulent campaigns. Such incidents are inherent to social media and should be handled delicately.
- Information security- Connecting with the consumers through internet can be harmful and makes the sensitive data prone to phishing attacks or data leakage.
Internet is transforming the economics of marketing and challenging the conventional marketing tactics. Owing to the information flowing in the virtual world, the consumers are becoming extremely specific of their demands and critical of the options available. At the same time, the net consumer is not hesitant of telling what he likes and influencing the decision of the peers. This new paradigm of marketing, though building anxiety about the challenges of implementation, is creating excitement about the potential of driving value for businesses. And those planning to overcome the challenges and realize the potential are bound to see a steep upward curve in the revenue graphs.
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