New Media and Marketing
Since the rise of use of new media, marketing departments seem to be stressed out because they don’t know how to handle this new medium. Should they invest? How, where and how can they measure the effects? Companies don’t want to stay behind, but also don’t know what to do. Is twitter the new way to go? Or is creating a community more effective? This might be confusing for the marketers, but these aren’t their biggest worries.
Consumers have changed into producers. They can use social media to complain and inform other consumers about a certain company. Marketeers believe that social media made it difficult for them to control the image of the company they are working for. Recently, we had the Car glass incident on Twitter, which is a perfect example of consumers taking control. The idea is that before the rise of popularity of social media, marketers could sent their message to the consumers who were the receivers. Recently, consumers can sent a message back which changed the monologue into a dialogue.
This culture in which consumers have become producers as well (prosumers), is called a participatory culture. Henri Jenkins published a White paper on this subject in 2006: Confronting the challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. In this paper he describes a Participatory Culture as:
“A culture with relative low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement, strong support for creating and sharing one’s creations, and some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along by novices. A participatory culture is also one in which members believe their contributions matter, and feel some degree of social connection with one another”
New media are a perfect platform and will probably help the participatory culture grow. We can Twitter, blog, create video’s etc. Perfect examples of co-creation are: Firefox, Wikipedia, WoW etc. But does this mean that everybody is taking control? And are we busy complaining about companies? Should we?
Presuming that the marketing monologue is changed in an more equal dialogue, I think this can be a very positive development. Especially for companies who use Consumer relationship marketing. We as consumer can give feedback on products, and companies can listen and offer better products and develop a better relationship with their clients. That way the company that listens best is able to deliver te best products. The question that remains is: How can companies listen?