Consumers are accustomed to retail advertising consisting of heavy doses of newspaper inserts, mail circulars, and other mass delivered one-way messages. The traditional model will soon be a distant memory if predictions arising from a recent study come to pass. A survey of grocery marketers conducted by Valassis found that the traditional reliance on print media as an advertising channel will be declining dramatically in the next five years. Today, three-fourths of grocery executives use print media for marketing purposes. In five years, the number dwindles to 17 percent. In contrast, the proportion of grocery marketers saying that they will use social media as a marketing channel will rise from 12 percent to 65 percent during the same period.
Skeptics might interpret these findings as grocery marketers perhaps being too euphoric about social media. However, it seems that bullishness on social media marketing may be based on impact rather than hype. A new study by Ryan Partnership on retailers’ social media activity found that connecting with shoppers via social media is not just cool, it has observable payoffs. Among the study’s findings on how social media impacts shopper behavior were:
- 44% of shoppers surveyed indicated that a retailer’s social media update influenced a purchase
- 36% said following a retailer on social media led to trying a product
- 18% said they tried a brand because their friends like or follow the brand
Social media alone is not changing advertising; how we consume information has created a need for new communication approaches to reach and engage audiences. It would be understandable if some advertisers resisted a shift away from traditional media to rely more on social channels. After all, “traditional” means that it is customary practice, it is the way it has been done in the past. But, consumers are not hanging on to the past – they are using the tools of the day to acquire and share information. So, marketers may long for the good ol’ days, but we must align our practices with consumer behavior.