How Social Media Marketing complements Traditional Marketing: Oprah Winfrey Example


The greatest fear that most people in the traditional marketing world have is that once day Social Media would replace what they do. Hence they harbor an animosity towards Social Media and most even dismiss it as a fad or just a passing phase.

This is evident from a recent survey conducted at the May 2011 Pivot Conference, where just 69 percent of respondents believed Facebook’s advertisement offerings are "excellent" or "good." This was followed by YouTube at 46 percent, Twitter at 36 percent, LinkedIn at 24 percent and Foursquare at 22 percent [Source]

There are two wide believed reasons why traditional marketers do not feel comfortable with social media. For starters, it is difficult to figure out which social media platform would work for you. Although, websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are often spoken of in the same vein, it is important to note that each of these social media platforms is used by different industry types and should not be used interchangeably.

Secondly, traditional marketers find it difficult to calculate the RoI on social media since there is no industry approved metric to measure the same.

To understand these challenges better, many marketers have started testing / using social media as part of their campaigns, alongside with traditional media. A good example is what Opray Winfrey did this week.

Oprah, the queen of television shows, came for a live streaming interview on Facebook to promote her channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). While Oprah has promoted her shows heavily through television and print advertisements, the attempt at social media has earned her many more fans.

The segment has received more than 881,993 likes and one can just imagine how it affects the number of visitors to the and the OWN network.


Oprah Interview

Social Media is a marketing channel that can be effectively used to complement the traditional marketing channels and not to replace them. So in my opinion Social Media is not a replacement to traditional media but forms one part of the marketing mix.

Unlike all other traditional marketing channels, social media is interactive and to keep the conversation going one has to adopt different marketing strategies.

In one of my earlier posts, I had discussed how Social Media could be used for new product development and to monitor brands. The piece also sparked a debate on LinkedIn in the McKinsey Quarterly Expert Panel Group.

In this piece, I want to talk about three steps that can be taken to integrate social media into your marketing campaign and strategy.

Step 1

Identify the channels that you might want to use in the Social Media World. This is a very important step and most mistakes in the marketing strategy usually happen because the wrong channel was identified. Now this would depend on three things

  • Your brand and what it represents
  • You Industry
  • Whether it is a B2B or B2C marketing

For example, Facebook is a great channel for B2C Marketing, but for B2B, LinkedIn seems to be more effective.

Step 2

Once you have identified the channel(s), it is important to create a space for it in your marketing mix. Many firms put Social Media under the Digital marketing category which includes websites. This is not a bad idea, but it is important to get someone who understands social media to work out the nitty-gritties. It is also important to allocate a social media budget which is distinct from the one for digital marketing. Organizations typically allot anywhere between 2% – 25% of their marketing budget on social media.

Step 3

Evaluate all current and future campaigns to see where social media could fit in. It could be to drive participation to an event, or to get a discussion going on a new product launch. Some marketers use Social Media to enhance the message of traditional advertising. A good case in point is Cadbury’s Bournville: The Perfect Ghanaian Cocoa campaign on Facebook. The Facebook campaign asks people to like the campaign in order to enter a contest.

The contest has a link to the TV commercial for the Bourneville and asks respondents to list the two attributes that a bean of cocoa needs to have to qualify as a Bourneville. These attributes are clearly stated in the commercial. Once the respondent correctly answers he is eligible for a prize.

Bournville Chocolate TV Commercial

This also helps calculate the ROI on the Social Media campaign as part of the larger Campaign. I personally feel that customer feedback at the end of the day to see what prompted them to buy the product or serve or to attend the event would also be a good indicator of the effectiveness of the Social Media campaign.

In conclusion, I feel that Social Media is here to stay. The question is – are the marketers going to use it to enhance their offerings or lose out on a good opportunity to connect with customers through these channels?

Would love to hear your comments on this!

  1. […] reported by the Business Standard. You can acquire customers through social media by catering your social media marketing strategies keeping in mind B town demographics, requirements and […]

  2. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Atish

    Totally agree, I found that funny because I saw many reports yesterday, where people gave their biggest challenge as lack of data available within the organization. But you are right smaller firms do not see the value in investing in analytical tools hence the use of very rudimentary techniques which often does not let them take advantage of the opportunities available. But thanks for bringing up this wonderful point.

  3. Atish says

    Dear Dr. Vikram,
    I thankyou for the usage of the word funny! However, emerging firms, due to lack of small budgets fail to use such analytics’ tools and land up doing the task on their own..!!
    Many organisations have their full revenue generation model based on the development and selling the analytics tool. Indeed a huge business scope over there!!

  4. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Atish

    I agree, media selection is a great skill, and as I mentioned in the paper the key is to know your product/service and your brand. Its funny that you mention data and this is the biggest challenge. Also the more mature firms have analytics working on all data across the organisation to ensure that they can figure out what the customer whats and how better they can serve them.

  5. Atish says

    True in every analysis..emaphasing again on the selection of the media channel and having expertise to follow-up with the same.. as the results can be huge.
    Tracking the data received and channelising to receive the a bigger task!

  6. James Greg says

    Trends change with the passage of time and one can be a survivor if he adapts along with the changes. Social media is now a huge source of marketing and the companies who realize this will be the dominant leaders in future.

    1. Dr Vikram says

      I agree James, the key is that Social Media really amplifies your messages, hence it is important to leverage this channel as part of your overall marketing strategy. I am hoping that this is not a trend as user generated content is here to stay, as this tags back into co creation. I had an earlier piece on this

  7. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Rohit

    I am happy that at least some progressive marketers have started incorporating Social Media in their marketing mix, but I am sure most will follow soon. It is interesting the type of customer connections one can make using social networks.

  8. Rohit says

    Really Vikram, your understanding of marketing is awesome. Social media sites are really a great source of marketing today. We need to update marketing strategy with time and Social Media Marketing is the result of this.

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