Impacts of Technology and Social Media on Companies and Organisations’ Marketing of Products and Services
The rapid changes in technology and the advent of social media have been prominent highlights of the last decade or so. In the last then to fifteen years, the world has witnessed extensive changes in technology evidenced by developments such as the widespread availability and use of mobile phones and the rapid penetration of the internet. The widespread use of social media and other interactive, participative web 2.0 technologies and applications has also been part of this revolutionary trend in almost every aspect of people’s lives. While marketing is frequently explored separately from the changes in society, the reality is that the field cannot exist in isolation from them. In fact, marketing as we know it today has experienced tremendous change from its state ten or fifteen years ago due to the technological developments across the globe. In this essay, then, closely examining the advancements in technology and social media will show that they have impacted organisations’ marketing of products and services in more ways than many would imagine.
The direct marketing of products and services by firms has undergone immense transformation because of the advancements in digital technologies and the internet in the past decade or so. Direct marketing, which entails utilising customer direct channels to reach customers and deliver the value proposition, is traditionally considered a vital primary marketing approach or complementary marketing communications strategy to other approaches (Kotler& Keller, 2016; Armstrong et al., 2018). The surge in internet penetration and usage, as well as advancements in digital technologies like smartphones and other hand-held devices has, however, completely transformed direct marketing as it becomes more intertwined with the new age digital marketing. According to Armstrong et al. (2018), technological advancements in the previous decades have transformed organisations’ digital marketing through increasing digital opportunities for direct, up-close, and personal interactions with consumers. Previously, marketers relied on mass marketing standardised messages and offers communicated through intermediaries and less effective direct mail and catalogues directed at vaguely defined customer segments. The technological developments of the past ten to fifteen years, however, have revolutionised direct marketing through extensive demassification. Through well-tailored, personalised, and interactive messages directed at narrowly defined customer segments and individual customers, brands have vast opportunities for greater customer engagement, building brand loyalty, and improved sales (Kotler & Keller, 2016; Armstrong et al., 2018). As argued by Casas (2018) and Öztaş (2015), the integration of digital technologies like smartphones and social media creates opportunities for interactive direct marketing that is more engaging and personalised to fit individual customer preferences. Notable brands like Amazon and Samsung, for instance, have grown into industry giants with billions in annual sales by strengthening their brand advocacy and customer loyalty through digitally-oriented direct marketing in the past decade.
Social media has made it even easier and affordable for brands to interact with and target customers with product and service offers more accurately than any time in the history of marketing. The rise of web 2.0 interactive technologies and applications has transformed how people use the internet to communicate, interact, and shop. In a highly technology-centric world, social media has become a leading channel for brands to reach a wider audience than traditional channels like television, radio, and newspaper advertising. In the UK, for instance, 70% of all adults have been reported to regularly use social media, with the average user, for instance, spending approximately 23 minutes on Facebook daily (Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, 2016). Hence, social media platforms have become leading channels for brands to reach and interact with a broad audience to market products and services. Unlike traditional mass marketing channels like TV, radio, and newspapers, social media analytics allows organisations to develop highly interactive targeted messages targeted more effectively at narrowly defined segments (Kotler& Keller, 2016). As a result, organisations have more opportunities for improved returns on social media marketing spend than traditional marketing communications approaches. The networked and interactive nature of social media and customers’ greater use of social media on mobile phones has revolutionised marketing by making it easier for brands to communicate, improve customer service, and engage more closely with customers to promote sales and brand resonance (Agrawal, 2016). With social media, even the most obscure brands have access to a level playing field to compete with the largest brands.
With the technological developments in the recent years, marketers have placed a greater emphasis on organic, non-paid marketing of products and services over paid advertising. Traditionally, brands relied on costly intermediary marketing communications channels to communicate product and service offers, hence making paid channels like television, radio, billboards, and newspapers the focal point of marketing. The evidence suggests, however, a dramatic shift from traditional to digital marketing in the past decade or so (Agrawal, 2016). Customers’ increased access to internet enabled digital devices, including personal computers, smartphones, and tablets has made access to information easier as customers demand more transparency than in the past. Brands understand that customers can now differentiate between paid marketing communications and non-commercial information, with consumers placing greater emphasis on transparency and authenticity. Even more important, enhanced opportunities for direct marketing through digital marketing communications on social media mean that organisations no longer have to spend on costly television and radio ads to reach customers. Unpaid marketing communications have thus become critical to many brands’ marketing communications strategies.
Developments in technology and social media in the past decade or so have transformed brand marketing. The rapid penetration of the internet and the proliferation of mobile phones and other digital technologies have demystified brands’ direct marketing, making it more interactive and engaging for both brands and customers. Social media marketing is now a leading channel for brands to directly interact with customers to promote their product and service offers and create brand loyalty and resonance. Also, brands can access broader audiences on social media while targeting them with greater precision. The new technologies mean that unpaid, organic communications are widely preferred as customers seek greater transparency from brands and firms seek to manage their marketing costs more effectively.
Section B: Globalization
The term globalization has been a subject for many discussions, observations and authors works lately. So what is globalization indeed and how it affect the business and world in general. According to Marshall McLuhan (1964) who is one of the greater thinkers of the last century: “The Globe is becoming one unified interconnected entity”. In other words the world is globalizing. Beck (2018) described globalization as the process by which cultures, countries, organisations and individuals are able to exchange information, products and services for their own good.
Some evident examples of globalized world are increased travel opportunities, limitless channel of communication, cultural exchange, worldwide trading and overall commercialization of the world.
The rise of globalization has been a driven force of creativity and entrepreneurship within the today society. Nowadays passionate entrepreneurs, artists, speakers and other individuals are able to reach wider audiences for their works. This environment provides chances for small organiations to compete with large businesses. Furthermore, we have witnessed the great success of businesses started from zero like Facebook, Apple, Tesla and Amazon and then become leaders of the industries thanks to the consistency and leadership of their founders. Whether the business is small or big it is highly dependent on the globalized world that we are living it (Robertson and White, 2007). Like everything in life every subject may have positive and negative sides and so globalization does not differ from that. With all positives that can be said, the globalisation could be also used in a negative context when it comes to wrongdoings by organisations and individuals who used the power of globalization. For example: The world witnessed many terrorists acts and exploitation of labor in poor countries in the last 20 years, mainly due to the opportunities that the globalization is providing. Moreover, many individuals believe that globalization is driving the world into a place where the national culture and ethnicity is slowly disappearing in exchange to the overall global idea that is communicated throughout the media.
This piece of work is focused on globalization as a main topic; however its idea is to illustrate (with examples) how the phenomena globalization is impacting whole countries or regions. The Eastern European country Bulgaria will be used as an region for analysis from where we will make conclusions about positive and negative sides of globalizations.
Bulgaria is an ex-socialist country that is located in the East side of Europe surrounded by Greece and Turkey from the South, Serbia and Macedonia from the West and Romania on its North side. The country is very fortunate to have Black Sea from its East side and many mountains across the whole country like Rila, Pirin, Balkan Mountain chain and others. Bulgaria is using its own Cyrillic alphabet. The local currency is lev. Majority of the population is native Bulgarians, but there is also big Turkish community within the country.
Since the country left the communist regime back in 1989, Bulgaria went into a transition period from the centralized regime to a free market economy. It took many years for the country administration, local businesses and citizens to adapt into the new environment. That period brought a number of opportunities for the businesses and individuals, but also many wrongdoing practices along.
Implications of Globalization to Bulgaria
Since the country offer very low-paid labor in many industries the country became a very attractive for Western businesses that outsource their operations in Bulgaria. The globalization was a main factor that help Bulgaria to raise its economic competitiveness. As a result there is a significant improvement in the standards of living for many citizens as well as better employment rates (Vassileva, et al, 2014). The main exporting industries for the country include: Metallurgy, Machine building, wine production and textile.
Nowadays the country is known as one of the technological hubs in Balkans and Europe. The local market has been very attractive to many international companies in IT, Customer service and Gambling sectors (Bulgaria – Europe’s Leading IT Hub, 2022). In addition many Bulgarian individuals are able to work on a freelance based in sectors like copywriting, graphic and interior design and digital marketing through the use of platforms like Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
Furthermore, Bulgaria is one of the top destinations when it comes to garments, shoes and bags produced for big fashion houses in the world. Since the country have tradition in this sector with skillful workers who are willing to work long hours for a wage that are very attractive for the international companies (Bulgarian Textile Sector – Invest Bulgaria.com, 2022). The globalization enable these international fashion brands to explore and utilize the Bulgarian workforce. However that this opportunity for the country can be also looked from another more negative perspective.
Since the globalization has been used effectively from a small number of business owners in Bulgaria for their personal good, the interest from fashion brands in “made in Bulgaria” has been growing over the years, but what this mean for the workforce that physically produce these fashion pieces ? Unfortunately in many cases these are people who are actually working long hours under major stress to meet deadlines for 300 to 500 euros per month (2022).
Labor turnover in the country has been rising over the last 20 years due to the possibility to travel abroad. European Union in particular has been a chosen destination for many skillful Bulgarian citizens. Currently, according to Statista (2022) there are around 80,000 Bulgarian residents in United Kingdom and another more than 400,000 Bulgarian citizens lives in Germany. Italy, France and Spain are also other destinations where people seek for realization (Bulgarian nationals population UK 2021 | Statista, 2022).
From the other side many Bulgarian students choose destinations like London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm to do their bachelor and master degrees, as some of them remain in this city after their graduation. This trend has been working in a very negative way for the Bulgarian government and the overall labor turnover of the country.
Another serious issue is the import of a foreign stocks to the market. Many local producers suffered because of the free market economy. For example fruit and vegetable producers who cannot match the low prices of products from Turkey, Spain or African countries. Many of them could not survive in this environment.
So in general can be said that globalization is a phenomenon that affected the whole world. Some regions, organisations and individuals has been using it for its own good, others for the good of others, however unfortunately others use globalization for unethical or even dangerous for others objectives. In order to tackle the negative effect of the globalization the unions and countries must impose a reasonable and effective laws and regulations.
In the particular case of Bulgaria it is evident how the country has been used the globalization opportunity to enlarge its economy, however the globalization brought other negative effects to the local society which were explained in the paper.
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