The New Technology Frontier: Challenges and Opportunities for Social Marketers

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, May 8, 2012

AJ resized 600This is the third post in our social blog series. Throughout the month of May we'll be featuring posts from some of Boston's most expert thought leaders, answering these questions: “How is the new technology landscape changing social marketing?  What do marketers need to understand now and in the future in order to be prepared for these changes?” This post is by AJ Gerritson. AJ is a Founding Partner at 451 Marketing, an award-wining Boston-based communications agency that focuses on integrating public relations, social media, and search engine marketing campaigns for mid to large-sized companies. In 2010, Boston Business Journal recognized AJ as a member of their “40 Under 40” class. He serves as President and Board Member for the Boston Irish Business Association, an organization he co-founded, and sits on the boards of Junior Achievement of Northern New England and March of Dimes of Boston. When he's not devouring information on new media, you can find AJ on the rugby pitch – he was a two-time Rugby All-American and played professionally in Ireland.

A couple of themes really stick out to me when I think about the changes in and the future of social marketing, and they are both directly linked to mobility and the advancements in web and mobile-based technology. It’s obvious that smartphones and tablets have become a dominant force in the way people find and share information. Now, these devices are shaping how we target, engage with, and market to our audience.

The first major change is our increased ability to really hone in and customize content for customers. Local and hyper-local technologies have shaped the use of social media, mobile applications, and search. This has forced us to refine our marketing activities to meet the needs of our customers. On the flip-side, the amount of information that we know about our customers and audience has increased astronomically – think about how specific we can get with online advertising because of the information that customers are willing to share. We really have an exceptional opportunity to reach our core demographic where they already consume media.

The second is the sophistication of mobile and web-based social media platforms and apps. Elegant and user-friendly platform design has made it easier than ever for people to share words, images, and their perceived identity. The wide adoption and increasing popularity of channels like Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram has changed the way that people find and share media. Visually appealing and attention-grabbing images evoke more emotion than the standard 140 characters. Even large social players like Facebook and LinkedIn have taken note, updating their user experience and integrating popular tools into their mix (think of Facebook’s recent billion dollar acquisition). Users’ expectations and tastes in media have changed and marketers, in turn, will need to follow suit to meet their needs.

So, while consumers will most definitely become more savvy and mobile, marketers will need to continually adapt with more targeted, mobile, and user-friendly campaigns.