Why Industrial Era Marketing Won’t Work in the Age of Social Media

In the industrial age, companies mass produced goods and promoted their products and services through mass media in order to sell them. Customers had little involvement in product creation (other than occasional feedback they provided through marketing research). And if customers had any problem, they contacted a support agent via mail or telephone.

Social media have radically changed this equation between companies and their customers by empowering customers like never before. Customers can discuss about products on social media channels and companies have no control over what customers are saying about their brands.

But instead of engaging customers on social media, most companies still rely on marketing the old fashioned way – a vestige from the industrial age! Marketing processes being followed today by most companies are still very similar to what was done in the industrial age.

Companies need to realize that when it comes to creation and delivery of products and services, expectation of “Social” customers are vastly different from that of customers in industrial age. “Social” customers expect companies to “listen” to them and take appropriate action on their comments regarding products and services they purchase and pay for.

Social media have provided tools for customers to express their opinion and customers are using Twitter and Facebook for the purpose. We see comments about brands/products on Twitter and Facebook all the time. For example, delayed flight or bad experience at a restaurant. But instead of listening to customers’ feedback on Social Media channels and engaging them, companies still expect them to call or write to them if they need any help. In a nut shell, companies are still living in the industrial age when customers have moved on into the social age.

In fact, I wrote about this almost two years’ back in a blog post titled “How Customer Engagement will determine winning brands in Social Era” In this post, I explained that level of customer engagement will determine mind-share and market-share for a brand. ONLY those companies that effectively engage their customers and prospects will emerge as winners and those that are not good in customer engagement will lose market share.

Unlike in industrial age, not involving customers during product/service creation and delivery, and very limited after-sale support via phone is not going to work any more. Companies need to use social media channels and collaborate with their customers at every step of product or service creation and delivery.

To survive and grow in the age of social media, companies will have to re-engineer their product design, manufacturing, delivery and support processes, and not just their marketing processes, in order to involve customers at every stage of product/service creation and delivery.

Companies that succeed in involving customers at every step of product/service creation and delivery will thrive and grow. Rest will become history. Question is how many senior executive realize the challenge that is in front of them and are prepared to make this transition?

 

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13 responses to “Why Industrial Era Marketing Won’t Work in the Age of Social Media

  1. I’m not sure about this. Apple does fine and it engages very little in the way of social media marketing or collaborative product development. I would go as far as to say this distinct lack of involvement along the way is intentional and an underlying factor for Apple’s success; after all, your customer doesn’t necessarily know what they want.

    I’m not saying that co-creation isn’t a useful methodology but I haven’t seen enough evidence (yet) to suggest it’s a required strategic approach.

    • Apple is (or should I say was) an exception because they had a visionary CEO like Steve Jobs. How many organizations can claim to have a CEO such as Steve Jobs? None I guess! 

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

      Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

      • Perhaps it is indeed those exceptions that create enormous value since it offers the requisite differentiation to become the zeitgeist of its time.

        To sound very clichéd, there is very little room at the top. Steve Jobs certainly represents the top for the current generation.  The less flamboyant Larry Page of Google could also vie  for that recognition. Obviously, I may not be wrong to assume he wouldn’t market Google products with the same sense of bravado with which the late Steve Jobs marketed his products. Job’s antics and his immense stage presence also personified the averred differentiation of his products which prepared his customers to pay the premium.

        I think customer’s involvement would be mandatory for positions 2 and downwards since the standards would  already be set by the first for the rest to follow or improvise.

         

      • Yes, Larry Page can vie for top honors. Time has come for every CEO and his/her team to recognize the fact that customers expect to be involved in decision making concerning products/services they buy and pay for. Sooner companies realize this and act on it better for them. This is what I am trying to point out in my post.

        Thanks again,

        Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

  2. I love this post Dr. Harish Kotadia, thanks for sharing! I am a social media account manager for bz9, and reading about things like this from make me smile!

  3. Agree!  – Good Perspective – with the shopper living in the internet through social mobile – companies now have to engage in context – connect and personalize – traditional marketing in the industrial age was not designed to do this across the shoppers journey.  Agree that enterprise processess will need to change – not just marketing.  See my recent video on shopper power at http://www.vimeo.com/scovell/videos  – thx!

  4. Mr. Kotaida, Great article, you touch a fiber sensible theme. There’s something I consider important and want to share,  even Senior Executives realize the challenge to transform “old fashioned” marketing way, the point is if there’s enough new mind prepared thinkers to design and re-engineer their product design, manufacturing, delivery and support processes.
    Customer Experience shift is going into a tremendous and vertiginous speed tunnel with social media boom, so the question is, Can we reach what’s going out in this minuted ticker changing wolrd? Are there people prepared to teach this? are there enough people willing to catch this super high speed train?
    Regards from Mexico 😉

    • Thanks Luis for sharing your thoughts and for your kind words, much appreciated!

      Yes, as you have said, some executives do realize the challenge to transform “old fashioned” marketing way. But it is difficult in most large and medium companies to change fundamental business processes, even though it may be important to do so. Question is what will make these executives to push hard for changes, will it be a crisis (like Social Media crisis) or will they change because of competitive action? We will have to wait and watch. But one thing is certain, change is coming and this time, it’s going to be big time change!

      Thanks again for your comments,

      Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.

      • Mr Kotaida, thank you!

        What an intriguing conclusion, you’re right! crisis or competitive
        action will push the change! I think we must not wait & watch cause
        people like you and me are commended to leader this change, our kids
        will do the rest!

        Sincere thanks for taking time to reply my post!

        Admiration and respect for you 😉

        Luis San Vicente

        @lsanvicent:disqus

      • Mr Kotaida, thank you!

        What an intriguing conclusion, you’re right! crisis or competitive
        action will push the change! I think we must not wait & watch cause
        people like you and me are commended to leader this change, our kids
        will do the rest!

        Sincere thanks for taking time to reply my post!

        Admiration and respect for you 😉

        Luis San Vicente

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