@ the intersection of strategy, marketing and technology

Social Media is NOT the only tool in the Marketing toolbox

I started out this post with the title “Social Media Marketing is no Island” to reflect the idea that SMM is not by itself “out there”. It should be an integral part of the Marketing toolbox. With all the hype around Social Media, it is easy to forget that it really only covers 1 of Kotler’s 4Ps of marketing, namely Promotion. Of promotion, it is only 1 of your promotion options. Let’s dive a bit deeper:

  • Product – Social Media can help you with ideas around features for your product and you can get feedback on your product from customers online, but Social Media does not drive the actual development of the product.
  • Price – you can find out about the price that you should charge through online research and maybe even asking what customers are willing to pay, but Social Media does not set your price. You set your price based on manufacturing costs, competitive pricing, etc.
  • Place – whether you sell physically or virtually, social media doesn’t have a big role to play in which distribution channels you use. Determining distribution channels is a factor or strategy and market analysis.
  • Promotion - this final “P” is where Social Media does shine and is a great tool to use. But there are a bunch of other great tools available as well. Depending on your industry, there are other ways to reach, influence and engage potential customers that can be more cost effective (i.e. you get better results at a lower price). Listening to many of the ‘Gurus” out there, one would think that social media is the best and only tool for all marketing promotions. It is NOT! In a B2B Enterprise SW sale, a solid whitepaper is a must. In a B2C sale of a product like a Snickers bar, you might use in store displays. You won’t use an in store display for a B2B enterprise SW sell and I haven’t seen any whitepapers on Snickers bars. Like whitepapers and in store displays, Social media does NOT apply in the same way to all marketing promotions.

The Bottom Line: Determine your Marketing Objectives and then figure out which marketing technique / programs you are going to use for Promotions. Social Media Marketing can be a great tool to compliment your other marketing initiatives, but shouldn’t be the only tool.

6 Responses to “Social Media is NOT the only tool in the Marketing toolbox”

  1. Tyler Hayes says:

    Bingo. Haven’t seen any of the Gurus dust off the 4Ps in a long, long while, if ever.

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by grahamlubie: Social Media is NOT the only tool in the Marketing toolbox http://goo.gl/fb/jCoL

  3. Thomas Euler says:

    Hi Graham,

    I mostly agree with you. Indeed nobody should forget all the other marketing and communications tools out there.

    However, when it comes to “product” you say social media can help in the process but not actually develop products. Thats indeed true in most cases but there are other examples. Think for example of a company like CafePress or Spreadshirts where community members create the essential part of the products and (by affiliate marketing and other instruments) even drive sales. So depending on your business, it is possible to implement social tools in the product development process to a very relevant degree.

    Plus – with Facebook moving ahead the road towards their own currency, open platforms allowing external partners publishing their own apps, and an increasing number of social shopping sites I’d even argue that it is possible to tap new distribution channels.

    But, as mentioned before, I agree in general: Social Media alone is neither the only tool nor the saviour of marketing.


  4. Graham Lubie says:

    Hi Thomas,

    You make some great points and I agree that Social Media can be tremendously valuable in the Product Management process. Specifically around listening to community suggestions and incorporating those suggestions into the product roadmap.

    For companies like CafePress or Spreadshirts, the “product” is the platform that customers can use to create their shirts and then resell them. Both are very interesting business models that harness the power of the internet to provide cost effective 1:1 content creation. Since the platforms are still being designed, coded and deployed by the owner companies (with input from customers), I am not sure that I would categorize them as “developed” through Social Media.

    For Facebook (or Quickbase or the Apple iPhone) I see your point about how the Product (ie. platform) is being extended/developed by external groups….and I agree that could be considered Social Media driven product development.

    Thanks for the feedback.



  5. Wow, great info here, glad to have found your awesome blog, I

  6. Graham Lubie says:

    (add)ventures’ social media convergence approach does a great job of addressing social media as a component of an overall marketing program. To read a bit more about it you can visit http://addventures.com/blog/welcome-age-social-convergence

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