Tangible and the intangible—something you can feel, smell and taste versus a concept or an idea—it's the crux of some tired and drawn out debates. One I can name off the top of my head—religion—has probably claimed a few more lives than social media; but the question still remains, is it more engaging than the traditional mediums?
Well, yes and no...
What Bob Hoffman misunderstands in 'A Cranky, Skeptical Loudmouth Looks at Social Media Marketing' is that the Internet was never really intended to retire traditional medias but, instead, act as another weapon to the marketing arsenal as a whole.
Where Television and Radio and Print advertisements drop the baton, Social Media Marketing picks it back up and delivers, regardless of location or socioeconomic status.
"[television]. You interact with the medium all the time. You change the channel. You turn the volume up and down. You lighten and darken the picture. But you don't think of it as an interactive medium because you can't interact with the content," says Hoffman.
Fair enough, but local stations aside, a cable subscription costs money and is certainly not portable. Internet access may come with a price, but public libraries, and the wildfire that is free WiFi have made it nearly impossible not to use and experience the Internet whether at work, school, or home.
"So the best hope for the web as a truly interactive marketing medium is the conversation, i.e. social marketing. I am sure there are wonderful examples of marketers building valuable and profitable social networks… For every success you post, I can post a hundred failures. Let's make that a thousand."
A thousand, in case that startled some, is a just a random number the ill-formed toss around for dramatic effect. If I had to assume, "success" in this case is defined strictly as conversion, a sale, and only the sale. Social Media Marketing, on the other hand, is a different animal. Where television ads are given 30 to 60 seconds to sell you on a product or an idea, the Internet has no such time-restriction, and social media serves as its salesman, fleshing out and closing the sale.
Social Media Marketing accomplishes 2 goals—other than working towards a ROI—that other mediums do not.
•It can reach a broad to extremely defined demographic regardless of location.
•In comparison to traditional marketing platforms, it has a less demanding initial investment.
While my heart will always be with traditional media—print advertising in particular—my mind presides in social media marketing; it's still relatively new and consistently expanding, and offers new and highly-interactive outlets to reach an audience.
At the end of the day, I believe Mr. Hoffman and both factions-traditional and new media—are invaluable and have a lot to teach one another.