Here is a brief, off-the-top-of my-head reflection on social media and relationship marketing, which I found among my drafts. I welcome comments.
|A selection of social media tools|
From wikipedia (click this para to read the full definition): "Relationship Marketing was first defined as a form of marketing developed from direct response marketing campaigns which emphasizes customer retention and satisfaction, rather than a dominant focus on sales transactions".
This concept has been carried over to the online arena, where relationships with potential customers are even more sophisticated and go beyond old demographic approaches. Take a hit TV show, whatever the target audience was in terms of age, gender, education or income, the reality is that the show is successful because it has broad appeal - which proves that interests and hobbies do trascend class, age and gender.
Brands are now keen for bloggers to feature their products and services. They are busy launching websites where they offer information, support and tools to build virtual communities that will generate sales and new customers. Welcome to relationship marketing!
Brands are also invading Facebook and Twitter to create a buzz around their products. There is no virtual space where a brand fears to tread - although, apparently, LinkedIn doesn't generate sales, despite the large amount of fake discussions.
So whether you have a degree or basic education, you are sophisticated or down to earth, you are working class or middle class, you are a Sun or Guardian reader, you are bound to find a website through which you can interact with like-minded individuals while being targeted as a consumer.
The market for consumer goods is mind-boggingly complex... take crisps: you get the down to earth crisp, the fun crisp, the sophisticated hand cooked crisp, the oriental or unusual flavoured crisp, the retro crisp (salt and shake).