The social media revolution is afoot – and we could be in the process of ruining it altogether.
On the first point, thanks to Social Media Playground for bringing PR Media Blog’s attention to the latest research from IBM – “Beyond Advertising: choosing the strategic path for the digital consumer – which puts numbers against the current shift in consumer expectations and marketing responses.
The trends revealed in the study show US consumers wanting to be engaged with online: word of mouth and online marketing is expected to grow to 27% of overall expenditure by 2012 – up from 7% in 2002; 76% of people are watching video (up 27%) while 32% are consuming it on a mobile phone or other portable device. Advertisers are increasing online/interactive marketing spend by 63% and are engaging more in “brandsactional” advertising, by which I assume it means marketing activity that sits comfortably, rather than intrusively, in the social media arena.
So far, so good, right?
Well, on my second point, Spike Jones at Brains on Fire blog is already warning that the lunatics are taking over the asylum, with traditional marketers tumbling headlong into traditional methodologies that don’t belong in social media, namely making relentless noise, pushing out messages and screaming “listen to me!”.
It’s no surprise. Social media forces many marketing communciations people (across the spectrum of those with spiked hair, greying hair and those without hair) into a discomfort zone they’d rather not be. “Where’s the control? Do we really have to talk to the – urgh! – general public?” And this naturally brings a reversion to type; adopting the trusted methods of yore. Don’t get me wrong, many of yesterday’s practices remain relevant today, and may always have a role to play.
But treating social media as another medium to be “targeted” simply misses the point. As Spike Jones concludes, if marketers try to exploit social media to be the “centre of attention”, people will “just change the channel”.