Yesterday, I attended the Biz Buzz Social Media Conference at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse and it was an informative experience.  The event lasted all day, from 8:00 AM through the 5:00 PM wrap-up.  It was well-organized with an opening program that featured keynote speaker Dave Evans, followed by numerous break-out/mini sessions, which focused on social media strategies, building your brand through social media, blogging tips, and finally Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube tutorials. 

To recap the conference, speakers discussed how social media is changing the face of marketing and thus, traditional marketing is making less and less of an impact on consumers.  A key takeaway from the conference is detailed in the graphic below.  It shows how social media impacts buying behavior of consumers.  Consumers can easily review feedback or comments on any potential purchase – using anything from product reviews to Facebook postings.  As you are aware, no matter what source you use, feedback is readily available for you at any time.  This is why listening and responding to your customers is becoming more important than ever before (this was addressed in our 5/13/10 post by Vance – Facing Up to Unflattering Research Findings – a Dominos Pizza viewpoint).

The keynote speaker argued that traditional marketing is officially dead, which is a large concern to advertising agencies.  With the DVR and TiVo virtually eliminating commercials of recorded programs for users, there are a lot of interruptions/issues with traditional marketing methods.  Marketers are struggling to reach people, whether it be spam and pop-up blockers, fast forwarding through commercials, or simply throwing away junk mail.

As a market research firm it’s not only important for us here to understand these implications for our business, but also for our clients when consulting with them on findings and recommendations from our research.  Social media is here and, like your in-laws visiting you at holiday time, it’s not going anywhere soon.  So, what do you think?  Is traditional marketing officially dead?

I personally don’t think it is, but social media is becoming a powerhouse for marketing.  I view it a little differently than most.  I think social media marketing is simply another tool to help your company create an online presence.  Although it’s a major player, I don’t think social media marketing alone will drive your business.  Simply having a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Blog is not enough.  It’s how you publicize and how you use each of them – that is the true marketing.  In essence, creating strategies to encourage customers’ utilization of your social media is traditional marketing, isn’t it?