From adversity comes opportunity

The recession has had plenty of bad news, but it may be good news for social media. Many of the experts we’ve interviewed at this year report that the past 12 months have been good for social media. Value for money isn’t so pressing in a boom it seems. The past 12 months have seen clients are more interested to experiment with new, more cost effective opportunities.

There’s no doubt that advertising budgets are increasingly moving online. While it’d be brave to say traditional advertising is dead, it’s certainly evolving quickly. As emarketer has noted, it’s not just the medium that’s changed, audience sophistication means the message is evolving as well with advertisers looking increasingly to social media and microsites to engage stakeholders.

“As marketers look to engage their audience with relevant, trustworthy messages, that means smaller shares of marketing budgets going to traditional forms of advertising.” (source)

Obviously, reaching out to communities with a straight message is more suited to some industries than others. For knowledge businesses like professional services or government for example, reaching out into online communities with an information-based approach is natural and appropriate – particularly given the cost advantages.

The cost advantages are the other side of the story. Taking the message to the people online is usually cheaper then buying traditional media time. And it has the advantage of being more closely trackable – whether you buy advertising or engage on social media using a monitoring tool.

In fact, the economics are such that Forrester suggests marketing budgets in the future will be smaller thanks to the greater efficiency with which interactive online tools deliver the goods.

Shrinking budgets doesn’t mean a decline in marketing’s importance however. Forrester predicts the shrinking spend will actually grow marketing’s influence in the organisation, with unused budget being invested into new opportunities like research, customer service or marketing technology.