A conversation on managing your advertising and social media marketing mix

by Steve Seager

Below: Ad for Hagstrom guitars 1974.

Wow! I’m inspired! I just participated in a great conversation in a LinkedIn group: Future Trends on “Can Social Media Marketing Replace Advertising?” I totally recommend joining the group and checking it out. Many different viewpoints, lots of great advice.

If you are wondering how to manage your mix between advertising (which you know gives a manageable, though declining, return) and social media marketing stuffs (which perhaps sounds like a load of buzzwords right now), I’m sure this is useful to you.

Here’s my (barely) edited response on rethinking your advertising / social media marketing mix:

Anticipating the consumer

I honestly believe that the core of the problem with advertising comes lies in not properly anticipating consumer behaviours. Consumers have already changed the way they consume, purchase, and behave. They have a choice to ignore you. And in social media they are doing it!

That simply means they don’t value you interrupting them with your ads while they are simply trying to get on with their lives. Advertising more, and harder is not a solution. So whatcha gonna do? My suggestion: understand your consumers’ behaviour better. Social media can give you massive (and free, except for the time) insights to anticipate the consumer. Just listen!

Adding value

Outbound marketing (getting people’s attention by bugging them) has its place. I have no argument there. But on the social web inbound marketing and all it implies (being nice, helpful, transparent, building trust, participating in real conversations and…[enter social media buzzword of your choice here]) is a much bigger part of your marketing mix. It’s proven. It works.

Figure out a way to add value to your consumers and you are on your way. And by the way, that doesn’t exclude having a bloody great product!

Thinking, what if?

Now we are closer to defining a consumer focused marketing strategy let’s have a rethink. Selling stuff is not new. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years B.A. (before advertising). Take a moment to think; ”What if there were no advertising tomorrow.’ How would you sell now?

If you still can’t figure this out go back to point 1 and listen some more. They are already telling you.


My point? Stopping advertising is, for 90% of businesses is simply not a sensible social media entry strategy. You DO get predictable returns. However, if your ad response is dropping, your ROI less, your conversion low, your growth stagnant, you absolutely need to get back to basics: know your consumer, and adapt your marketing communications strategy accordingly.

For me, that’s what social media marketing is all about: an opportunity to better connect with your consumers.

For those nice folks who might think this is new fangled social media BS, I’m with the marvelous Peter Drucker (social ecologist extraordinaire) circa 1974:

There will always, one can assume, be need for some selling. But the aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous. The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy. All that should be needed then is to make the product or service available…

Thank you, Sir. And so, my new definition of advertising…

Advertising = the thing you do AFTER you have built Awareness, Interest, Trust and Loyalty!! Yes, you can do all this BEFORE you advertise – Peter Drucker said it first!

For me, that’s where the future trend lies.

Passionate rant over.

Be splendid, social media marketeers!

Conversation advertising managing your social media marketing mix

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