As social media is beginning to dictate the marketing and advertising industries, Joseph Rana reports that the use of social media however, is bound to have negative effects in area we would least imagine, like the education sector.
It seems that the use of social media has seeped through our society’s DNA, with it not only being the medium for this generation to express itself (sometimes too much revelation!) but also for selling us products, that have apparently been tailored as per our wishes.
Now isn’t that a marketer’s dream come true to have a new product launch without money spent on
market research and it still becoming a rage?!
Frito Lay sometime ago introduced a brand new potato-chip flavor that became an instant success: a beer-battered onion ring flavor found takers in California and Ohio while a Churros flavor tickled the taste buds of the astute New Yorkers!
You might quip: so what?
The elaborately prepared expensive marketing strategies always pay off. True enough.
But these instant-success new flavors owe their launch not to the traditional market survey methods, nor to the labour and cost intensive marketing and research work done by the wannabe MBA’s, but to the new age social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare.
Ann Mukherjee, Chief Marketing Officer Frito Lay, North America, is real upbeat about the cost-free, hassle-free service available at the press of a button.
Those accessing the new Lay’s Facebook App are offered a choice to register their preferences, their yummy likes for a new flavor by simply clicking on “I’d Eat That” button.
Not only Frito Lay, but in similar fashion, Walmart desired to know the consumer response for small chunks of cake on lollipop sticks by following Twitter chatter and presto! the cake pops became a sudden rage as Walmart began stacking them in its stores while Starbucks is ordering them for its cafes.
Now Walmart is all set to amalgamate such readily available level of buzz into their market research department.
Social media company Kosmix has since become @WalmartLabs.
“There is mountain and mountain of data being created in social media,” says Ravi Raj, Vice-President, @WalmartLabs.
Estee Lauder’s MAC Cosmetics is elated as it deliberates which discontinues shades to bring back by asking consumers to vote on shades in the social media.
And Squishable, the stuffed-animal toys company took advantage of Facebook feedback before finalizing the new toy’s launch.
B’Austin Ale, the American red Ale, used the vote-on device for yeast another ingredients and quality for a crowd-sourced beer.
As marketers try to find a balance between privacy norms and the voluminous data available online, there are also doubters that have made the debate interesting.
Perhaps this bright spark may question the need for teaching advertising and marketing strategies, the survey methods and research work in Universities, from a social media perspective.
After all, the traditional marketing that involves business activities like planning, analyzing input costs, finding out the demographic profiles, identifying groups based on geographic locale, interests, tastes, habits, lifestyles are now being bruised by media onslaught.
While MBA studies are expensive and a craze, the traditional management methods involve labour and of-course over the top tuition fees.
If this trend continues—which it is more likely to—the numerous business graduates will loose their jobs to social media websites.
Unless the universities overhaul their course requirements and teaching material.
The net result: perhaps the universities will lose grip on some of the moolah intake!
Anyone listening in the Australian Education Industry?
This article was originally written in 2011/12.