Conventional marketing has been in use for a very long time. Hence as one would expect there is a standard methodology that is followed. The usual 4Ps and the STP (Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning. For the entire process to be implemented it takes a great deal of time and effort from the Marketing team thereby resulting in very high costs. Also, for such form of marketing it is hard to evaluate the value it would have generated. Traditional Marketing is outbound type of Marketing. The Organization’s marketing makes a best guesstimate of what would appeal to the audience and release the communique through mediums such as Print, TV, Radio, Telephone calls, Direct mail etc. Therefore it is hard to obtain feedback and fix immediately. Traditional media also is about trying to reach as many customers as possible but the content need not be suitable or as per taste of each individual viewing the advertisement or promotion.
In comparison, Social media is relatively less expensive if the campaign is able to meet its purpose and does not falter in the screening process with the users. One of the most useful aspects of social media is the ability to have a two way communication. It is also relatively less time consuming to create a campaign. However, It still would need enough pondering on the possible impact of the ad etc. A social media campaign hence would be more effective than a conventional marketing campaign. To a great extent it could be measured as well but it would still be hard to identify or associate the social media campaign with the sales it is able to generate. Social media also is transparent with every details available in an open domain. Everyone has access and there is no discrimination for information. Social Media marketing also provides for opportunity to connect with every individual. Due to the extensive screening capability the content is also generally accepted as Authentic. The users are also determined to be Authentic.
On cost per type of channel Direct Mail is observed to be the costliest and Social media the least expensive. The reach for a social media is also much larger in comparison to other forms of marketing. Research shows that word of mouth is one of the best method to generate trust. It is identified that almost 92% of users buy products based on word of mouth from their family / friends.
However, having spoken about various differences between social media marketing and traditional marketing the two cannot be implemented in isolation or individually. A smart marketer would clearly identify the purposes of each and attain business objective with more strategically planning. Based on the product being marketed and the audience being targeted different types of mediums should be leveraged.
To conclude, Social media is seeing a steady growth however it is not expected to wipe out the traditional form of marketing. The risk associated with Social Media is that once published it not possible to recall the campaign. Marketers would look to balance the risk with the costs to determine the most effective way to advertise and promote products.