After watching this weeks required viewing – Mark Ritson’s presentations at mUmBRELLA “Beyond Digital Marketing: Why the D-word is Hurting Marketers”, and “Why Social Media is a Mostly Waste of Time for Marketers” (Marketing Week), it wouldn’t surprise me if you believed that Digital and social media are not important for marketers.
In my blog a couple of weeks ago, I discussed how I believe that Traditional Marketing and Digital Marketing run the risk of being in managed in silos. Prof Ritson in his Marketing Week presentation shares the same view. But the difference in our opinions is that I believe that digital and social media platforms are more important now than they ever have been, and he thinks that they are a waste of time.
Social media is very important to marketers. This is where in a large number of our customers are spending their time. In Australia, 62% of the Australian population uses social media an average of 10 hours per week. And of these users 50% of them claim that they are more likely to trust a brand on social media.
These numbers are difficult to ignore. These customers are actively engaged on social media.
Prof Ritson is controversial in suggesting that there is no place for social media platforms in brand marketing.
One of his points is that while 50% of articles about marketing are about social media – only 5% is actually spent on social media. As though spend was an indication of reach and impact.
Social media marketing by design is a very targeted space for organisations, for both advertising and having a presence in social media (Facebook pages, etc). It’s also inexpensive and for some brands is free of any cost (other than human labour). Using the dollar amount spent on social media as an evidence that it is insignificant is not a good argument. Spend does not reflect presence nor engagement with the consumer.
Prof Ritson claims that TV and Radio are still better media for targeting consumers – due to the reach and amount of time consumers spend watching TV and listening to the radio. I believe this is true, these media are very effective in reaching customers, but they can also be very expensive and there is a lot of waste – and definitely are less targeted than are social media campaigns.
These media are also in decline – and television viewing has changed since the spread of “on demand viewing” which is offered by Netflix, Stan, and HBO – free of any advertising. Live free to air tv viewership is less than 52% of Australians. Opportunities for TV ads to be seen is reducing. Radio is also in decline as an advertising opportunity as many listeners have moved to Pandora, Spotify, or digital radio to avoid listening to ads.
The longstanding rule for TV advertising is – the better the program the more people are reached- and the higher the cost of the ad is. Advertising on TV requires not only reach but also frequency as well to get the message across to the target audience.
However, social marketing is not a mass media platform, it is a direct marketing medium. As such, it can be more efficient at targeting your market — at a lower cost.
I agree whole heatedly agree with Ritson that marketing must begin with strategy – not budgets and not specifically with social media budgets.
Many marketing strategies will ultimately result in recommending social media strategies. This is logical for two reasons – first, it’s where a lot of the market is, and second for many of small and medium enterprises it is all that they can afford to promote their business.
I agree with Ritson in that Digital and Traditional should not operate in silos, but unlike him, I don’t agree that social media as part of the marketing mix is a waste of time.
 Yellow Social Media Report (June 2018).