Are Marketers on the Way Out?

The media world is always changing and evolving, so much so that if I were to list all the ‘new’ latest ways media technologies are advancing and developing, the list would be considered old by the time I was finished (Flew 2014, 2). I am studying a bachelor of marketing and am currently interning at a marketing firm. Both of these factors has led me to find out what has changed in a marketer’s job since the creation of social media.

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Reflecting back to before I first started studying social media, self, and society, my definition of social media was sorely wrong. I believed that social media was only networking sites like Facebook or twitter. However, social media are assemblages like artifacts, practices and social arrangements (Cassidy, 2017a), even though most people believe the same as I did, that the platforms are all there is. Furthermore, there are actually multiple social media ‘ecosystems’ like social networking sites, user-generated sites, trading and marketing sites and play and game sites and more (Cassidy, 2017a). There are multiple different areas where social media has affected marketing but there are three different aspects, in particular, I want to know more about as to how social media has changed them. After discussing these three aspects, I will go into some recommendations that I see fit for marketing agents, found from these findings. The first aspect that I am intrigued in is how the ‘Mediapolis’ lifestyle has changed marketing. This will lead to the next change being, how empowered new media audiences are affecting marketers in their job. Lastly discussing how marketers are now able to use new affordances to market to the audiences, due to social media.

Have you ever watched those movies where the characters live in a world of incredible technology but you notice that where instead of using technology, it seems as if the technology is using them? This leads into the Mediapolis world that some of us, can seem to get caught in, and once you are caught- it is very hard to become free. Living in a ‘Mediapolis’ life, refers to living in media, in comparison to living with media (Deuze, 2011: 137). With new affordances like virtual reality, where you, as a character are ‘experiencing’ what is ‘around’ you, this can also be known as immersion (Cassidy, 2017b), which brings the ‘Mediapolis’ lifestyle right to our doors. The reason that the ‘Mediapolis’ lifestyle is affecting the marketing industry, is because those who live a ‘Mediapolis’ life are becoming immune to marketing techniques and are thus making the skills and techniques that marketers’ use, useless to those immune. This does not help when the audience itself becomes a reflexive product that is constantly changing with social media. Furthermore, making it an extremely costly learning process to gain new qualifications to target those changing markets, due to more study, mentoring project and so forth. This leads into the empowered new media audiences.

Empowered new media audiences are people formerly known as the ‘audience’ to marketing campaigns or anything that marketing advertises (Cassidy, 2017b). Participatory culture itself is creating havoc with marketers’ roles, as those in it believe that because they use platforms every day, they know how to market their business and that line of social and professional starts to blur. Where their ‘self-work’ becomes a public performance, due to the blurring of that public/ private line (Cassidy, 2017c).

“The people formerly known as the audience are simply the public made realer, less fictional, more able, less predictable.” – Jay Rosen (2006)

This, I believe, terrifies marketers because the audiences that used to absorb anything you would give, is now becoming more immune and, as Rosen said, they are becoming more able and less predictable. Instead of being the audience who absorbed marketing and who were the target audience for marketing, they now want to get involved and market themselves, making demands of the media and its professionals (Cassidy, 2017b). Take the example of YouTube, where once people paid professionals to do services for them, they now are able to search on YouTube for exactly what to do, and to do it themselves. This is running marketing agents out of a job because people believe they can market themselves without ‘the professionals’ of the industry’s, help.

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Although it may seem like the development of social media has destroyed the outlook for marketers, there are new affordances that have come with social media that are being used religiously. Affordances are possibilities for action, like how new media offers new possibilities for users, who appropriate them (Cassidy, 2017b). With the all new systems being created from social media, Marketers now have access to create and use algorithms to make targeting the audience easier. Now with smart devices and targeting technology, marketing companies can use this information to target to the exact audience’s preferences. These processes have never been seen before and are changing the way advertising is being viewed. However, although it is practically invaluable to marketing agents, it can be unethical and immoral, as it is exploiting the audience and using it as a commodity for pay and trading. It goes on further however, to the point where business will not use professional marketers and instead use cloud labour for their marketing campaigns from the audience they are targeting, where it is close to becoming unpaid labour (Cassidy, 2017d). Have you ever seen a company offer a prize for designing a new logo, or a new campaign idea? Cassidy (2017d) discussed in class this idea in class and furthered it by sharing an example similar to where a business may pay $2 million to their six individual marketing agents to create a logo, however, instead they can post it to a social networking site as a fun challenge with a $20,000 prize and will get thousands of entries. This type of gamification, the action of encouraging audiences to do the businesses desired actions by engaging them in a game-related approach not only saves them valuable time and money, it gives them a much larger variety of options (Cassidy, 2017d). It also creates lots of engagement from consumers and builds loyalty (Cassidy, 2017d).

Some recommendations that I would give after looking at how social media has affected marketing, is to be very aware that the audience has changed. Where they were once easily molded and quickly persuaded, they now are not only quite immune to marketing techniques that have been taught but are now wanting to market themselves in their businesses. I believe the other thing that marketers have to be careful of is how they use algorithms and internet data of their consumers, as they are people and not a commodity that can be traded like Pokemon​ cards.

In conclusion, Social Media, Self, and Society has really shown me how social media is affecting different industries. For this purpose, I wanted to look at the industry I am in so I can prepare myself for when I am in the real world​. The three areas I was most intrigued with marketing, were how the ‘Mediapolis’ lifestyle is affecting marketing, how empowered new media audiences are affecting who can actually market and lastly how new affordances can change how marketers target their audience. Therefore, I beleive that marketers are not on the way out, for the reasons that have been discussed.

Words: 1208

References
Flew, T. 2014. “Ch 1: Introduction to New Media.” In New Media. 4th ed, 1 – 17 Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Deuze, M. 2011. “Media life.” Media, Culture & Society 33(1): 137-148. doi: 10.1177/0163443710386518

Rosen, J. 2006. “The People Formerly Known as the Audience.” PressThink: Ghost of Democracy in the Media Machine, June 27. Accessed April 9th, 2017. http://archive.pressthink.org/2006/06/27/ppl_frmr.html

Cassidy, E. (2017a). KCB206 Social Media, Self and Society: Lectorial 1 [Powerpoint Sides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6737719-dt-content-rid-7983815_1/xid-7983815_1

Cassidy, E. (2017b). KCB206 Social Media, Self and Society: Lectorial 2 [Powerpoint Sides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6744803-dt-content-rid-8002274_1/xid-8002274_1

Cassidy, E. (2017c). KCB206 Social Media, Self and Society: Lectorial 3 [Powerpoint Sides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6751726-dt-content-rid-8034203_1/xid-8034203_1

Cassidy, E. (2017d). KCB206 Social Media, Self and Society: Lectorial 4 [Powerpoint Sides]. Retrieved from https://blackboard.qut.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-6757687-dt-content-rid-8068876_1/xid-8068876_1

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