Research Proposal: The Future of Marketing and Social Media

Marketing is defined as “the process of creating, distributing, promoting and pricing goods, services, and ideas to facilitate a satisfying exchange relationship with customers in a dynamic environment.”  For decades, these guiding principles of creation, distribution, promotion and pricing have been the core foundation of strategic marketing, and they continue to mold the industry and its most common practices to this day.  As the environment in which the industry exists changes over time, however, these practices must evolve and adapt to remain relevant and effective.

As the growth of online social media develops, the playing field on which business is conducted is changing drastically. The introduction of instant messaging, blogging, micro-blogging, and online social communities and networking into mainstream culture have forced forward-thinking marketers to develop new and innovative ways to promote their products and ideas by utilizing these modern channels of communication.  Many leading marketers have been experimenting with campaigns that delve into the realm of social media, yielding varying results. Where some of these pioneering marketing initiatives have seen great success, others have made poor use of this powerful new medium.

The research I’ll be conducting on the future of marketing, social media and their evolving relationship will demonstrate a need for the adoption of new marketing methods, specifically in using social media as a marketing tool. Through analyzing recent social media campaigns used by leading, cutting-edge marketers, I intend to establish a set of social media marketing standards/guidelines by which industry professionals can achieve success. Additionally, my research will shine a new light on using social media in a marketing capacity, and act as a beacon for future marketers intending to add social media tactics to their marketing toolbox.

The means for my research will include a variety of methods. As online social media has grown exponentially over the past few years, I will be reviewing only the latest academic and industry reports on the subject.  Recent marketing campaigns that have been launched focusing on online social media will be another crucial source for research, as I will gauge the successes and failures of such campaigns, and the likely reasons behind each. Additionally, I will be conducting interviews with marketing experts (both local and national) to develop a clear picture of what we might expect the future of social media marketing to look like, and how the marketing industry is preparing.

I have the intention of utilizing interviews with marketing professionals and making them a key source of my research.  Action Marketing Group and Undercurrent, two leading marketing firms currently utilizing social media as a means of marketing, have agreed to assist my research efforts through informational interviews. Additionally, I hope to secure interviews with Ford Motor Company marketing executives, whose current social media campaign for the Ford Fiesta is turning heads throughout the industry. For these aforementioned companies, interviews I secure will be conducted by phone or via Skype, depending on the individual’s preference.

Smaller, local marketing firms will also be a source of my research, as the easy accessibility of social media technology evens the playing field for companies of all sizes. MMI Marketing Associates based out of Raleigh, NC has agreed to assist my research initiative on this front. I plan to conduct in-person interviews with the owner and staff about how they currently employ social media tactics for their clients, and how they expect this may change as social media develops.

The combination of social media and marketing isn’t a new concept – tactics and strategies have been blogged and written about this subject for the last five years. Through my research, however, I intend to add to this field of study a standard of practices based on my research that not only applies to the current state of the industry, but can be applicable and relevant for years to come.

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~ by dparsonsmedia on September 7, 2009.

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