Is Social Media as a marketing tool simply the next stage of our marketing evolution and the ‘highest’ medium in which we now get to connect with the consumer?
Advertising began as a form of marketing communication used to encourage, persuade, or manipulate an audience to take some action towards the advertiser…hopefully leading to purchase. At its foundation advertising did not look to disguise itself from the consumer. It was, and still is, non-apologetic and one-way. At it’s best – effective as it entertains & educates and at it’s worst – pollution we seek to avoid.
As the consumer became to recognize and be weary of advertising for what it was, Public Relations in service of Brands evolved as a way for advertisers to communicate via validated, 3rd party media that we trust. Somehow inclusion or validation of a brand through the media was acceptably more trustworthy as it surely was not ‘placed’ there by the advertiser?
…but now we know it is. The media we trusted – we trust no more and the only media we trust are our own networks made up of family, friends, peers and colleagues. We, the consumer, have become the most trustworthy media.
Every indication we have as marketers over the last decade of digital evolution have shown us that influence of our peers trumps direct messaging from a brand in driving a consumer to a purchase decision. As marketers, we see more and more research that validates this thinking.
For those that still think this may be a fad, it is not. It is in fact the past that will have a very hard time accepting the future.
This is simply the evolution of communications.