Choice or no choice?
For some it is a matter of some choice or poor choice.
The deployment of limited resources and budgets between above-the-line communication channels (mass media – television, radio, print, outdoor), below-the-line options (promotions, database marketing, loyalty programs) and the new stream, including social media, texts and the like is perplexing for many.
An unholy stampede by some businesses into new media has met with isolated and marginal successes. Some of the channels, intermediaries and hosts of such communications have found generating sufficient revenue to record profits beyond their capacity and creative realms up to this time. Apart from being perplexing, it is a complex challenge. For others the lessons learnt highlight that introduction of new media can be an ineffective distraction if the strategies and tactics for the established, long standing mainstream media are inadequate.
One seeming deficiency in many such marketing strategies centres on the concept of INTEGRATING. No existing medium should be ignored with the introduction or proposed introduction of new social media outlets.
Going it alone has little currency in an increasingly global marketplace. That applies to entities and to media. International brands are increasingly recognising, respecting and utilising LOCAL, with all its innate qualities and marketing advantages.
Starbucks coffee for one has faltered badly in the diverse and differing markets of Japan and Australia, primarily because local competitors better satisfy the strong undercurrent of consumer preferences for local.
Now, and the immediate future, are good times to undertake objective, detached probing analyses of current communication philosophies and practices.
It is evident that for many sectors and individual businesses current advertising, marketing, merchandising, public relations and promotions are not having the impact and according the results enjoyed in the past.
The lure and temptation to increase and introduce new channels of communication and new concepts must be tempered by the ability, capacity and allocation of available resources. Dispersing and decentralising efforts can and often does compromise existing and established strategies, tactics and campaigns. In many instances dominance of a particular medium is imperative for sound strategic and competitive reasons. Being a marginal participant accords few rewards.
Social media, in its many guises, demands ongoing and constant attention, input and capacity for it to be effective. Yesterday's communication is considered by many many users of these channels to be archaic.
Control is another issue. By its very nature social media are unstructured, supposedly democratic and have the capacity to disseminate and accelerate the distribution of information. However, the initiator of the original message has little control over who, how and when the information is broadcast. The integrity of the text or vision can be compromised by unauthorised, unapproved and often inappropriate complementary and supplementary inputs.
The Rupert Murdoch controlled News Limited has the resources, skills, financial capacity, desire and, indeed, need to introduce, utilise and profit from the new streams. It, doubtless, will be a winner.
WHO IS THE PRODUCT?
Particular care must be taken by business owners in their responses to personal invitations to be part of networks on Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube and others.
The consequences can be profound and widespread, including impacting on corporate, product and service images and positioning.
Importantly, there are innate obligations to those in the respective social media networks and to business entities. In some, if not many instances, these are not compatible.
Establishing and sustaining highly visible profiles can be personally fulfilling, satisfying and nurturing to the ego. It is appropriate for politicians, entertainers, media personalities and for some individual consultants and entrepreneurs.
However, the by-products of such visibility include transparency, accountability, possibly vulnerability and reduced privacy.
Egos, images and marketing positioning can be and will be impacted from unsolicited feedback and input, often from sources of questionable integrity and relevance. Care must be taken in the presentation of the product, whatever its nature and guise.
THE UNRESOLVED ISSUES
For some, the unresolved and often the unrecognised issues in contemporary business development strategies involve the unintended and unanticipated consequences of introducing new media channels to the communication mix.
Existing skills sets among company staff-members may need to be reviewed, enhanced, broadened or complemented with the recruitment, induction, training and development of new team members.
One fundamental strategic marketing aspect must be addressed. Is it possible to achieve and sustain a dominant, commanding or conspicuous presence in the chosen social media to facilitate a competitive advantage?
Moreover, are those criteria sufficiently satisfied in the established and existing media channels which are utilised?
Is this a matter of choice, no choice, some choice or poor choice?