Slideshow: The Impact of Social Media on Marketing Strategy

Academics insist that Marketing is ‘in crisis’, or even ‘broken’. If so, what role can Social Media play in reversing this decline?

Collage of handdrawn social media icons
At the bottom of this page, visitors can download a précis (Powerpoint show) of the Author’s dissertation from his MSc in eMarketing in 2009-11. Since posting in late May 2012, there have been over 13,790 ‘views’ of this presentation on and over 120 downloads from this page.

About: The aim of this document is to make the original dissertation more readable and accessible, extending its reach beyond those who would traditionally read it as part of their research, chiefly other Marketing Masters students. The Author believes that this document is a useful read for marketing practitioners and students who do not have the time to read a full dissertation but want to understand not just Social Media's true impact on Marketing, but the state of Marketing itself. Note that this document is NOT a presentation – there are over 130 slides, pages are text heavy and it remains an academic work.

The strength of this document lies in three areas:

1. The depth and breadth of the research.
2. In the powerful conceptual framework that was developed as a result of the literature review and was investigated via interviews with top brands.
3. It contains some useful additional material that had to be omitted from the submitted dissertation for page length reasons.

Summary: Social Media are dominating discussion in both Marketing and life in general. They present both challenges and opportunities to organisations. For instance, they have brought about a revolution in how consumers communicate with each other and with organisations – and this has impacted on businesses and how they in turn communicate with their customers.

But Social Media have also affected companies in more subtle, but no less important ways, such as forcing them to be more transparent and accountable. This revolution of sorts in business has occurred when Marketing has also been undergoing its own trials and tribulations. Many academics state that it is in 'decline', in 'crisis', or even 'dead in the water'. Assuming that is the case, how are Social Media impacting Marketing? This document is intended to answer this question.

Strategy and marketing strategy are examined first, before the apparent decline in Marketing is explored. The desk research ends with an examination of the areas that Social Media have impacted on the organisation, and in particular on Marketing. There then follows 8 interviews with Marketing or Social Media representatives from 7 top companies in the UK – British Gas, Dell, first direct, Nokia,, Birds' Eye Igloo, and M&S. The conclusion of the research is that whilst there is concensus in some areas between academics and marketers, there is a disconnect in others. The result is that although it is agreed that Social Media are having an impact, practitioners see Social Media in a more tactical sense, whilst academics see them having a broader, strategic impact and role. So the effects are seen as having an evolutionary effect by practitioners rather than the revolutionary one suggested by academics.

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