The Impact of Social Media on Marketing Strategy



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The organisation has traditionally been in control of its brand and has beenable to dictate to the consumer the terms of most transactions that occur.However, the growth of social media has empowered consumers, and theyare now not only having conversations online with other consumers but aredemanding to have conversations and interactions with the brand.The aim of this study is to establish the impact that social media are havingon organisational marketing strategy. A thorough examination of the extantliterature shows that marketing is being challenged, experiencing difficulty invalue creation, a loss of influence, media fragmentation, and commoditisationof the marketing mix. However, the literature also suggests that social mediamay assist in overcoming these challenges, facilitating the creation of thevalue and innovation needed for growth and competitive advantage.The resulting conceptual framework formed the basis of primary researchinvolving an exploratory and explanatory study of seven well-known consumerbrands. Semi-structured interviews were held with key individuals in thesefirms. The key findings were that in some areas such as branding andcustomer engagement, practitioners are aligned with marketing theory.However, they reject the proposition that marketing is in decline or has lost its‘seat at the table’. They see a role for social media but it is tactical at present,rather than the strategic role suggested by the literature.The conclusion of the study is that scholars see social media as having abigger impact on marketing strategy than marketers do. However, the Authorsuggests this impact is evolutionary rather than revolutionary and their mereadoption does not guarantee competitive advantage, which organisationsmust continue to seek by developing superior, core competencies.

Richard Fullerton
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes University