Being Social- Marketers new mantra?

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The buzz trends in marketing come and go. Some stay, some don’t, and a few successfully lift the spirit high. Being social has always been there, if you thought it was the latest buzz then maybe you missed out on few instances during your childhood that relates marketing and the act of being social. However, today being socially interconnected with the end consumer has become critical and crucial.

Being social to me means maintaining an interpersonal relation with the other person and that’s what marketing has always been about.  If we classify the transition into phases, we will have a clear understanding of the whole cycle.

Phase 1:

During, not-so-urbanized era of India, manufacturers, and retailers shared a direct relation with the customers. A bad customer experience was shared with the seller the very next day. Any laxity to satisfy the customer would mean immediate loss of business. Small localities, connected customers, word of mouth publicity- criticism, were the factors that veered the wheel of old age marketing.

Phase 2:

Then happened disconnect. Manufacturers- sellers lured the customers with attractive advertising  and paid no attention to any grievance, if any. The growing population, change in lifestyle, demographic divide restricted consumers to connect amongst themselves, share views/ experiences.

Phase 3: The present and the future

Technology has always bridged gaps, and it did the same with demographic discord. The surge of World Wide Web hinted a progress for better communication, real time conversation. India opted the web way too, and the increase in internet penetration resurrected the phase 1, igniting the social strength of consumers to drive opinions.

Forums like acted as a platform for aggrieved consumers to vent their dissatisfaction openly. The open for all community, highlighted one bad experience to many across geographic boundaries. This was just the start, customers connected on web 2.0, started connecting on an interpersonal level using Social networking sites, Facebook, twitter, orkut- (Most of these sites now have sub- categories which users use to push their, good-bad experiences). With such bonding, it wasn’t easy for sellers to avoid connecting with these consumers; any ignorance would mean direct impact on the business. While few sellers overlooked the idea of connecting, others saw this as opportunity to connect and benefit from it.

Customers today discuss and share using an easy, fast and free medium, so restricting an experience or opinion was never going to be possible. Cheating was to stop and fair play was to begin.

Sellers used web 2.0 to connect, hear and understand consumer’s perspective, taking all of it as a feedback and pushing it to the factor to better the product, to better the customer experience...

This was now... The future will have more

With people spending most of the time online hooked on to their social profiles, marketers are seeing web 2.0 as a viable and economical way to feature their advertisement, run campaigns, and even do sales. Infact some of them are already doing it. USA based computer and laptop major Dell is making use of twitter to take customer orders and lock sales. Clear trip, India leading travel portal is using youtube channel to run well defined campaigns.. Can this get any better? I think the future will add more to it.

Here a some interesting examples showcasing an innovative use of the digital medium: