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Why any reports of marketing’s death are greatly exaggerated

August 22, 2013

I smile when people say digital and social media has killed marketing.

Marketing is all over the place in the digital web. Remember this saying: “if the product is free, you’re the product.”

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc give away their product. They don’t spend millions each month storing our content out of the goodness of their hearts. They are in it to make money off your data. Those “conversations” people are having on social platforms are creating rich data for marketers.

They platforms offer a free place to have conversations in order to allow people like me to market to you.

So why do people see marketing is dead? Because there are about 100 million options after the print ad, TV and radio spot. Fact is: people are using other forms of digital research in order to consider your brand.

It is certainly an issue for higher education. Stealth apps come from people who don’t take tours. They might not even visit the .edu. They could get all their data from here, here or here.  Or if we’re lucky, here, here or here.

Social media is marketing.

I don’t love the term social media. It makes it seem like it is separate from ‘marketing‘, which it isn’t.

Social media strategists types used to say “its all about the conversations”. When this all started, they were right. I remember when a person tweeted at a fast-food restaurant’s account the following: “This is marketing genius. I’ve never felt so close to the brand”. It was in response to us sending him a $5 gift card.

As the manager of the Twitter feed, I wanted to understand his motivation. His tweet wasn’t because of the $5. His reaction was because he just had a conversation on Twitter with his favorite brand – something unfathomable 10 years ago.

So while it is about conversations, and while this conversation was great for the brand, it isn’t quantifiable. We can’t say, with any certainty, that this was good for the brand (he was most-likely going to buy the same, he was most-likely already pre-disposed to tell his friends about the brand).

But we’re sure it wasn’t bad.

As we walk down the path of Twitter and Facebook, and digital networks that offer us all platforms, it is worth noting that it is all marketing. Twitter isn’t giving away the platform for the fun of it – they have a plan. If you use their free service, you should have one too.

What do you think? Is marketing dead?

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