Be it traditional marketing or social media marketing, one primary thing that cannot be and should not be compromised is the consistency of the message. There are several challenges in keeping the message aligned between the traditional and the new social media marketing channels, given that your target segment spans the need for both the marketing channels. I have tried to capture few of those challenges below, hope it will be interesting and useful. Again, these are only my observations and experiences; please put your thoughts on the comments to share yours.
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*Audience – I agree the audiences that you want to reach on the two channels are not necessarily the same. However, that does not mean the core of the messaging needs variation; often one could diminish the brand value due to inconsistent messaging given that there is a high growth of confluence between the traditional vs. the social media audience.
*Channel partners – The issue with having too many people deal with the two different channels could lead to convolution of the message. If in case you would like to outsource your marketing needs, make sure you pick the right partners who understands both your traditional and social media marketing needs. You need not pick the same partner to drive both the efforts; however make sure all the partners involved are in line with the overall efforts.
*Internal conflicts - Promoting two different departments for notching the same target, where one department deals with the traditional and the other deals with social media could cause internal conflicts. At the end of the day, both the departments are measured based on the conversion and the retention ratios.
*Treating the customers differently – The benefits to the consumer on one channel might be different from the other, but if there is a reason to believe one is valuable over the other, often the weaker group might feel left behind. It is all about consistency in delivering on all possible accounts. [For example: When National geographic runs contests, they promote and create messaging for the same contest on both their magazine and their social channels. Sure, the way to get the eyeballs on both the magazine and the social media is different, but at the core, the message is the same.]
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*Social media platforms – The growing platforms in social media creates a dilemma on how to manage each platform, should we be on all or how do we decide which ones to focus? The goal should be in focusing on cross-pollinating the efforts across the available platforms. Remember that a huge segment of the social media population is out there because they are often compelled to. Understanding the influencers on each platform needs some study and due diligence in analysis. Following the right people will create the right impact and influence for your brand. [For example: Say you are a brand logo is lemon, you do not want to follow people on pinterest.com who posts lemon pictures necessarily, unless they are in your target segment.]
*Not playing me too – As mentioned before, today’s organizations are forced into social media, as they see their counterparts jump into the space. By randomly taking shots on the social channels can often be misleading in what you are trying to convey. This may result in people turning away from your brand.
Creating a concise strategic marketing plan that will encompass the different elements of messaging, and planning for the content ahead of time is very crucial to the overall efforts. While the social media demands to be more dynamic, the messaging has to be consistent in a way that it does not deter the core meaning of the value of the product, and the principles of the organization.