The advent of new media
Over the past decades, the expansion of new media has led to what Yochai Benkler describes as a ‘hybrid media ecology’. Within this ecosystem of sorts, commercial and amateurs interact with each other in many ways. Each of these groups has the potential to produce and distribute content. Each is being transformed by its new power and abilities. The hybrid ecology now involves people from different disciplines working together.
What do I feel about new media? Well, every new advent comes with its own set of pros and cons. New media has definitely created a culture of getting people connected: today I am a part of this network society. The concept of everything smart including cities happened after media turned digital. News on my mobile have replaced my early morning newspaper habits. Apart from making news reading convenient in terms and time and space, it also gives me this innate satisfaction of saving paper. What’s more, I have access to any information just at the touch of a button. But of course, its validation lies with my ability to judge what is true and what is fake more than ever before.
Nowadays, brands can’t be studied without understanding how they relate to their customers. Similarly, customers can no longer be understood without a better grasp of the economic and technological context inside which they function. As we already discussed user empowerment in a previous article, today I will remind you that customers are smart as well, not just technology.
Democratisation of media
Shifts in the communication infrastructure bring about positive and negative impacts on culture. This ‘democratisation’ of media use means more opportunities for people and communities to tell stories and know about other’s stories. They also present arguments and listen to other discussions and feedbacks. Thus they share information and learn more about the world from a number of other perspectives.
I remember my childhood years spent watching one news bulletin at one specific time of the day. If I happened to miss it, I would be left news-less for the entire day. Yet today we have several 24/7 news channels served to us across multiple media. This immediacy was made possible only with digital intervention.
Today’s brands increase their influence by merging and syncing across different channels. In some ways, this has concentrated the power of traditional gatekeepers and agenda setters. In other ways, it has disintegrated their strong control over our culture. Perhaps there are less chances of monopolizing a market now. Many media companies have surfaced with new ideas and newer concepts giving rise to competition. I think this is always necessary for healthy competition. Monopoly according to me creates uniformity, and reduces variety.
Therefore, convergence is both a top-down corporate-driven process and a bottom-up customer-driven process. Brands are learning how to accelerate the ﬂow of media content across delivery channels. This way they can expand revenue opportunities, broaden markets and reinforce customer loyalties and commitments. In turn, users are learning how to master these different media technologies to bring the ﬂow of media more under their control. They are also learning to interact and co-create with other users.
Convergence also happens among the multiple disciplines that are necessary to complete one project.
One of the most inspiring finds of media becoming connected has been the conception of crowd-sourcing. I myself was part of a couple of such projects such as McDonalds burger builder in 2014 that crowd-sourced ideas for the types of burgers customers would like to see in the store. They could create their perfect burgers online and the rest of the country could vote for the best ones. It is amazing how much ideas you can contribute online with others.
Daren Brabham examined the concept of ‘crowd-sourcing’, as a testing ground for thoughts about ‘collective intelligence’ and ‘the wisdom of crowds’. Crowd-sourcing is applying the logic of Web 2.0 to the design and manufacture of physical goods and services. Studying brands such as Threadless, iStockphoto, and InnoCentive, Brabham tries to recognise those certain conditions which build a proﬁtable, transparent and creatively independent integration of crowd-sourcing concept into established business practices.
Further, Larissa Hjorth offers one such example of providing mass creativity through new technologies in her work on the mobile phone. Basing her work in South Korean case studies, Hjorth identiﬁes how the widespread use of built-in digital cameras is changing the world of photography. Enabling people to take new kinds of pictures and share them across photography communities. Even as mobile media become platforms allowing sociality, these devices further encourage the idea of making users constantly connected customers.
What do these new media changes mean for marketers?
An incredible amount of information both empowers — and overwhelms — customers, allowing them to thoroughly consider their purchases before initiating a transaction. In fact, most people decide to buy before talking to a sales professional, Web services company Market 8 reported. This paradigm shift between buyers and sellers has forced businesses to change their approach to marketing. For example, customer behaviour change in the digital age has given rise to the importance of online reviews, users spend a lot of time on social sites and millennial customers trust their peers more than an ad online. Therefore, along with a constant need to stay up-to-date with ever-changing algorithms and user behaviour, marketers need to:
Have an economic and technological know-how
In a market of constantly merging disciplines businesses cannot say a no to any specific field. An awareness of both the economic and technological advancements are necessary to understand your customers and their needs in a given context.
Keep an eye on engagement
Engagement is the first step to conversions. In other words, it’s rare for someone to purchase something from a brand they have not engaged with.
The influencer strategy
Bloggers, vloggers, and social media stars classify as influencers because of the reach they have over their audiences (usually niche, but at least between 2K-10K). Partnering with such influencers to spread your brand message across different media channels can prove beneficial.
Niche is new
Forums, online communities, and start-up social platforms take the social media marketing world by storm, so consider establishing yourself early. Since they’re curated by people with a genuine interest in a specific topic, they’re more engaged. Your business can focus on this new kind of social media before everyone over-saturates it.
Stories over products
Form human connections. According to The 2018 Sprout Social Index, customers want discounts and new product announcements, but 59% still want posts that ‘teach them something,’ 56% want posts that entertain, and 49% want posts that inspire. That’s hard to do if you’re constantly pitching the hard sell to your followers. So, what type of social media content can you create that combines both value and humour? Stories.
Stories humanise your brand. By proving there’s a real person on the other side of your social media account or product, relevant stories can make your audience feel like they’re talking to a friend who understands them.
People tend to make decisions based on emotions, and it’s difficult to trigger an emotion with facts and stats. Since the beginning of time, humans have responded to storytelling with empathy and feelings.
Customer data availability
New media helps companies gather far more detail about their target customers. By using sophisticated programs like customer relationship management systems, businesses can collect information about their best customers and use it to.
We would like to hear from you now. Do you think new media has been the best boon for the marketing world? What do you think we can improve or change about this uprising, if at all? In other words, what’s your experience, and what works best for you? Share with us in our comments section.
Also published on Medium.