Social Media Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: What’s Better for Your Business?
September 4, 2012 Leave a comment
Which is better – social media or traditional marketing? It’s the topic of fervent debate within the business community. Ultimately it’s the selling mode that fetches the optimal results while expending the least resources that will sweep the stakes. In order to draw a conclusion, let us compare the two methods using certain established parameters. This would also draw out the characteristics, merits, and limitations of each approach in a more lucid manner.
Social media marketing is the new-age selling method. It’s where online social platforms like Twitter and Facebook are used to feature and publicize products and services. Social media marketing relies heavily on the opinions of millions of users to engender demand for the companies’ offerings.
Traditional marketing is the age-old selling method depending upon standard selling means such as face-to-face contact, television, print media, and mailers to garner publicity.
Social Media Marketing involves minimal cost as most social networking sites are free to use. The cost of owning computers and using internet connections is a sunk cost and hence not relevant.
Traditional Marketing is a much more expensive way of selling. Advertisements using television, newspapers, and billboards entail considerable costs and thus discretion is advisable in budgeting decisions.
3. Customer Base
Social Media users comprise a relatively more internet-savvy, literate, and younger customer base. Further, it obviously excludes young children and people who do not use the internet at all. So marketing managers have to take these factors into account.
Traditional media users consist of a much broader customer base with people of all demographics involved. Thus marketing efforts need to be directed in specialized ways to satisfy them.
Social Media users operate in a virtual world thus marketing efforts have to be centered upon text, charts, images, and graphics to generate demand.
Traditional marketing wins this battle as companies can interact with consumers on a more personal level and utilize physical means like conferences, fairs, and banners to promote their offerings.
5. Collective Spirit
Social media marketing rules in this regard. It fosters a feeling of community, trustworthiness, and collective thinking making it easier for potential customers to connect with brands. Through the mass sharing of views and feedback, a substantial consumer base can be created. All this results in more conversions into actual sales.
Traditional Marketing is too company-centered to engender any intimate association with brands. One is relying on just the marketer’s word and this alone is less likely to generate expansive demand as compared with social media marketing.
Social Media marketing suffers from the many restrictions that may be placed on users from time to time. Also it is dependent on the Internet being totally liberal and unhindered. If users stop using or are prevented from using the internet, marketing will obviously flounder.
In contrast, there are fewer obstructions in the sphere of traditional marketing. Companies are free to adopt strategies as they measure the effects of traditional marketing is an onerous task making it difficult to parse the conversion of marketing efforts into sales.
Social Media statistics are easier to track as the volume of users on specific platforms can be found and analyzed. Consequently it is easier for companies to mold their strategies in response to any adverse changes that may occur and thereby enhance their marketing.
Quantifying the effects of Traditional Marketing is a heavy work. It is difficult to break down the conversion of marketing efforts into sales. This difficulty results in poorer contingency planning.
At the end of the day, deciding between a traditional marketing or social media marketing strategy ultimately depends on your budget. There is no doubt that social media marketing and traditional marketing are both essential, however depending on what stage your business is in, one may have more benefits than the other. For startups, social media marketing is the easiest way to get things going. Social media is free to use, and the Internet is used by a wide variety of people, and can therefore be very effective in getting your services or products across to your target audience. Meanwhile, traditional marketing is a tested and proven technique, yet can be more costly. Big companies explore this option more because it has a wide reach, and such companies can keep up with its high demand on resources.
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