The Growth in the Use of Social Media Has Changed the Relationship Between Marketers and Customers of Brands. Some Suggest That Marketers Have Lost Control over Their Brands, and Now Have to Participate in a ‘‘

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The growth in the use of social media has changed the relationship between marketers and customers of brands. Some suggest that marketers have lost control over their brands, and now have to participate in a ‘‘conversation’’ about the brand (Deighton and Kornfeld, 2009). Critically discuss how social media affects consumer behaviour in the 21st century and the challenges and opportunities that social media present for the marketing of products and services. Real world examples should be used to illustrate your assessment (examples can be taken from any country and any product/service).

“With over 500million users, if Facebook was a country it would be the third biggest in the world”. Social media is changing the world we live in and the way in which we communicate in it. Social media is an enhancement of regular media such as newspapers and television commercials. In terms of Web 2.0 it is giving people information but through interaction and also allowing you to communicate back. Media is no longer selling a product to a customer but having a two way conversation about it, as discussed by Deighton and Kornfeld. Social media websites include; Social Bookmarking, Social News, Wikis, Social Photo and Video Sharing and the most popular being Social Networking Sites. 22% of all time spent online is spent on social media sites, and although many may see it just as a time filler, it does offers an abundance of opportunities to organizations, mainly because of its global reach. However we must remember that social media is giving consumers a voice, which could affect an organisation positively but also negatively. A Consumer research showed that “individuals give greater consideration to advice and information shared online, spending more time with websites that provide third-party evaluations” (Huang et al. 2009), therefore it is essential that organisations have good feedback on social media sites because the consequences of gaining a bad reputation online can destroy them. In this essay I aim to critically discuss how social media affects consumer behaviour in the 21st century and the challenges and opportunities that social media present for the marketing of products and services. I will be using a wide range of resources and real world examples to aid me in this discussion. “Consumer behaviour is about human responses in a commercial world: how and why people buy and use products, how they react to prices, advertising and other promotional tools” (East 1997). Understanding consumer behaviour can be of benefit in particular to marketing managers. They can try and understand consumers needs/wants and what motivates the individual to purchase a particular product, because essentially a company’s main goal is to sell its product or service and the more information they can gather about consumers the more they can tailor their products accordingly. A Brand is a consumers feeling towards a certain product service or organisation, and with the growth in social media a feeling that can be spread quickly. Marketers need to realise this and do their upmost to ensure that consumers are satisfied with the brand. Motivation is a large aspect of consumer behaviour and can be described as “the driving force within individuals that moves them to take particular action” Consumers strive for a state of equilibrium and motivation is what forces us to gain a balance between physiological needs such a hunger and social and psychological needs. Although marketing does not create needs, it is able to remind us of them at the right time. Marketing encourages us to want a brand by associating it with the satisfaction of a need. Every consumer has a different need that marketers strive to meet. Social media allows organisations to track and follow consumers to have a better understanding of these. Examples of theories behind needs and motivation include Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (see appendix 1) which identifies needs such as safety and...
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