Social media has and will continue to explode, and I am certain that 2013 will be the year of conversations. In my previous blog, we explored the changing face of the marketing mix and transforming marketing principles around it. In this blog, we will be defining the digital marketing mix and explore a few technologies which can help us in understanding related digital data points. There are several data points which are equally important for the success of your digital marketing planning and strategies.
The following write up will focus on the integration of social technologies into our digital marketing mix. The internet and mobile technologies have given individuals the opportunity to create and distribute content, share their likes and dislikes, self-organise and participate in millions of conversations every day. As a result, they can create new types of content – while talking to brands or companies, expressing grievances and complaints, send their suggestions, to protest and sometimes bring down a government – Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. These technologies and the spurt of data accessibility through mobile devices will fundamentally change the marketing power structures.
Primarily, social technologies are made of various types of digital tools notably blogs, micro-blogging, video sharing, photo sharing, podcasting, mapping, social networking, wiki and several other tools. These digital tools are seamlessly integrated to our day to day application of digital marketing practices.
Content is being produced by users of social technologies and distributed one to many. Marketers are creating brand and marketing led content and distributing it through several free and easy technologies which can reach millions of consumers globally. We all are given the power to create content, we create them, publish them and then distribute these multimedia contents freely and easily. However, not everybody is a creator, according to the 1% internet rule, 90% of all users are consumers, 9% of all users are curators and only 1% of the users are creators. So far content is being created by thought leaders
Conversations are an outcome of what social technologies have enabled us to have two-way conversations between users. Be it brands talking to consumers, employees talking to organisations, or simply between two individuals. These conversations are purpose driven, a shared purpose where the exchange of thoughts and ideas happen. Often, they convolute into a trend, fashion or fad or some socio-geo-political event. For example, how the recent #Boston bombing unfolded on multiple social networking sites or some natural disasters like the recent earthquake in China or #Sandy in USA – conversations possess viral tendencies. Social technologies have helped us in a great way to share our conversations with many others who are seeking or following the same purpose.
Collaborations are another example where social technologies have emerged as blessings for co-creation and collective action. This includes creating wikis, forums and online survey platforms like Lime Survey. Several multinationals are riding the wave of collaborative success like Coca-Cola’s co-creation community with eYeka; another great example is BMW’s minisite to co-create designs and other ‘Car’ ideas.
Community is an outcome of social technology phenomenon discussed above. The digital marketing mix is overwhelmed by the communities and the advancement that social technologies have imparted to us. These online communities are formed due to a shared purpose: to engage each other again and again. In research we create online communities to share content, build conversations and co-create ideas for a new product or service. A good example of this is Revelation, a platform that facilitates online qualitative discussions. The challenge for marketers is to identify, design, build, and then manage an online community.
Another arena where social technologies have come to the fore as cutting edge tools is where these conversations are aggregated. Algorithms can be developed and run to generate insights that can provide immense value. In my next blog I will be discussing about different social media tools which are helpful in several different ways.
Vibhor Pandey is an Account Director with Metrix Consulting, and a massive fan of Carlos Santana.