Is Traditional Form of Marketing Communication Relevant in Today’s Age of Social Media Marketing Communication?

More often than not, the CMO of a company faces this dilemma: should I go for traditional form of marketing communication or should I go for social media marketing communication? Well, there is no thumb rule to this question. Through this article we would try to understand the difference between the two forms of marketing communication which would enable the CMO to take an informed decision.

One cannot deny that the influence of social media is more as compared to other forms of traditional communication when it comes to making a message or a video viral. A recent example is the ALS ice bucket challenge. This is because social media is transparent where anybody can voice their opinion. So people trust the choice of the majority as compared to the traditional forms of communication where information flow is opaque and controlled by the organization. It is said that the reviews from trusted resources (including channels such as social media and word of mouth testimonials) have a value 12.85 times greater than traditional paid media (broadcast, radio, and other types of traditional advertising).

Another difference between traditional form of marketing communication and social media marketing communication is the reach. Communication through web is without any geographical boundaries whereas traditional forms of marketing communication have constraint in terms of geographical reach. But traditional forms of marketing communication have more market penetration in under developed and developing countries/regions where the internet infrastructure is still not popular.

From the cost aspect, the cost of social media marketing communication is on an average 1/10 the cost of average traditional form of marketing communication cost. This has huge implication for companies working on a low marketing budgets and start-ups.

Since most of the content in a social media platform are user generated, more often than not the social media marketing communication is unstructured.  Here the company has to be extra careful before uploading anything on the web as each and every content is screened and scrutinized. One wrong move and it can be a catastrophe for the company. In contrast traditional form of marketing communication consists of professional content and the communication is made in a controlled way. So in the event of a wrong communication the communication can easily be withdrawn without causing much damage to the organization.

Social media marketing communication use informal language to communicate to their audience. Basically the social media environment is an informal sort of a forum. In contrast the traditional forms of marketing communication use formal language to communicate their message to the audience. This results in active involvement by the audience in social media platforms as it’s an open and inform setting where ones views are encouraged. In traditional form of marketing communication more often than not the audiences are passive by-standers.

As a result of the real-time nature of social media communication platforms the organizations are now accessible at all hours and in all situations. Organizations are expected to respond to inquiries on social media platforms in real time. 42% of individuals using social media expect answers to questions that they ask online within one hour. Unlike traditional media that runs as per a schedule and a plan, social media requires active management and necessitates the implementation of real-time PR strategies.

So summarize both the forms of marketing communication have its own advantages and limitations. It’s for the organization to decide which form of communication it wants to go for depending on the factors as discussed above. Though social media marketing communication is a threat to traditional forms of marketing communication but traditional form of marketing communication is still pretty much relevant in today’s context and is here to stay. At least for the near future!!!

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