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Whereas in the past, marketing interrupted consumers, today it may be turning into something that consumers want. With their ability to opt in and out of media sources, it is increasingly important that consumers express a desire for marketing.

Companies can talk directly to consumers through blogs, social networks, Twitter, and YouTube at minimal costs compared with traditional print and televised media. They also can communicate much more quickly and effectively than they might with static advertising that runs over and over again. Thus, 53 percent of social media marketers report that they will increase their spending, even during the recession.

Social media refers to media used to create personal connections with persons. With content marketing, people engage with content because they want to, whether because it provides useful information or perhaps because it is funny. Inbound marketing means that a company has a solid presence online and that customers actively seek messages that the company provides, whereas outbound marketing refers to broadcast mass messaging.

When Monster.com created a Facebook application that fed users relevant job openings, it induced 80,000 users to add the application. Verizon’s FiOS TV network maintains a Teddy Ruxpin bear that repeats the messages sent to it from Twitter on a live Web video stream. Successful marketing ideas like these are not necessarily the ideas that a professionally trained and educated marketer would come up with though.

In a similar appeal to nonprofessional marketers, BzzAgent contracts with “normal” laypeople who want to act as agents. These agents sample new products and services and then “buzz” about them with their friends and online.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What about successful media campaigns also reflect conventional marketing ideas?
  2. What type of social media do you engage in?

Scott Kirsner, “Increasingly, Marketing Isn’t Just One-Way Street,” Boston.com, April 26, 2009.