A perspective on the future of social media for digital marketers
By Shekhar Mhaskar, GM Interactive, Cheil Worldwide SW Asia
The phrase “digital is the future of marketing" is already passé. Digital is here to stay. In the last 4-5 years many brands have taken cognizance of the efficacy of the digital medium, either through a trial for self or witnessing it for other brands. They have started reserving a bigger pie of their budget for digital marketing via online properties and campaigns in a big way on social media, mobile, viral marketing and many more evolving platforms.
Big brands like Samsung which are the forerunners in the race have proven for themselves the ROI from investing in this medium in the past. 2012 will only see a surge in this investment; and concerted efforts by both the brand and their advertising partner to prudently utilise the various digital channels to the best of their capacities.
For brands, a major objective so far was to be present in digital medium because everyone else was getting on to the bandwagon. They wanted a website; they wanted a Facebook page, a Twitter account; they would do a few online display campaigns; and that’s it. It has been more of a one-way communication. Over the last couple of years the trend has shifted to a two-way process. Brands have realised the potential of the digital medium as a quick channel to listen to their consumers and re-craft their communication almost immediately for better ROI and brand salience.
2012 will be the year in which marketers will need to find innovative methods to utilise the existing channels for keeping a brand buoyant, always. A few takeaways for this year:
WWW is dying slowly, but the Internet is going strong. On any typical day, we are engaging without the web. It is apps, apps and more apps – Facebook, Twitter, Skype, IM, ticket booking, online music, and a multitude of others. Consumers aren’t rejecting the web – they are choosing to use dedicated platforms because they just work better. Today’s marketers should take a “synegrated” approach and lead the change in new technology, engagement strategies and data-based optimisation of campaigns.
Touch and 3G on tablets and mobile will be the emerging mode of consuming content, since it is a far more natural way to interact with computers on the go. Marketers should develop more engaging content for these platforms and strive to keep the TG hooked to the brand. Marketers will harness geo-localisation technologies (Foursquare-style check-ins and soon even walk-bys!) for customised offers, better use of QR codes to gather data and link to in-store experiences.
There will be a ‘television that measures’ in every household – smart TVs connected to the Internet delivering content. The measurement of consumption will get more accurate which in turn will change the revenue models for television advertising.
Facebook and other social media will be serious marketing platforms, since they are the places where consumers are. With the continuous evolution of Facebook and the development of a vast array of applications, companies will increasingly organise, augment and measure their effectiveness. We can only expect Facebook itself to evolve in 2012, offering better insights and improving their e-commerce functionality – “f-commerce”.
2012 will be the year of enhanced social engagement and improved interaction; a year when “social marketing” simply becomes “marketing”.