Social media marketing is not a replacement for other forms of marketing

Relationshipmarketing When talking about social media marketing, many people look at the social media themselves, focus on the seemingly endless opportunities of social media marketing and forget the global picture.

Many people also seem to look at social media marketing as a replacement of other forms of marketing.

That is one of the reasons why I don’t want this blog to become known as some social media marketing hype kind of thing but why I try to focus as much as I can on the integration of social media marketing with other forms of marketing (like email marketing) and on the cross-fertilization that social media marketing enables when you use social media the right way and in the right phases of the customer life cycle.

Yes, in social media marketing, people (customers, prospects, partners, fans,…) are key and relationships are crucial but this does not mean that social media marketing is some kind of relationship marketing 2.0.

I have read articles about the death of CRM, direct marketing, database marketing and of course email marketing (the latter was why I started this blog to begin with).

But email marketing is still, even if the focus lies more on dialogues, sharing and the people behind your email addresses, to a great extent a form of direct marketing.

And I guess that by now, everyone that follows this blog knows that social media will not replace email in the next few years (I don’t have a crystal ball for the far future but by then social media marketing will be probably simply called marketing).

It took a report from to prove what I’ve been shouting for many many months.

Some key marketing changes that have been caused by social media

Now, just as email marketing “is not dead”, so will CRM and relationship marketing go social. Well in fact, they are going social. But, again, this is not a question of replacement. I guess it’s typical, in times of fundamental changes, that people start having a black or white attitude. It’s fear of the unknown. But the truth is always grey.

Let me repeat what I have been saying so often on this blog: social media marketing is marketing. And marketing is still about relationships between businesses and customers, about communication and about databases, metrics, personalization, the customer life cycle, needs and in the end sales, whether you like it or not.

A crucial element that social media has added is that finally businesses cannot  ignore that marketing needs relationships and that communication is not only about talking but also and mainly about listening.

That’s something every decent sales rep has known since ages. Another crucial element is that in this day and age, sales reps have fewer face-to-face contacts and that’s why it’s so important that you are present on the media and channels your customers use to prepare their purchases, talk about products, build relationships, etc.

And, finally, the scale has changed and people don’t want to be approached via sophisticated marketing technology alone: it has to be more personal.

It’s like Joseph Jaffe wrote in his customer service manifesto (will tackle it later this week): “The old marketing adage is that a satisfied customer will tell 5-7 of their friends about their experience, whereas the dissatisfied customer will tell 15-20. Today, an unhappy customer will tell a million of their closest strangers.”