The Internet is rapidly overtaking traditional communications media as the primary, if not sole, source of information for the cohorts in Generation X and Generation Y. What are the implications for marketing-communications strategies if these trends continue?
Owen notes that very little scholarly literature or research is available on this topic, partially because it is so new. The existing models concepts and theories in the subject or discipline of marketing or created around promotional media or modes of service delivery, ethical considerations and implication issues that were common before the Internet existed. The commonplace use of the Internet social media and other electronic delivery systems for communications, news and advertising are changing what we currently know about integrated marketing communications (IMC) Many traditional marketing tactics such as press releases to print media outlets, formal focus groups, direct mail advertising, television commercials and other vehicles are proving less and less effective in today's consumer marketplace. Our traditional marketing models are no longer helpful in formulating corporate communication strategies in an era when a competitor or a single upset customer can post negative comments on websites, or blogs that become indexed on search engines. (Owen 2009)
Another area where the Internet has changed communications is the news. Receiving your news and updates via the Internet through blogs or news related websites or electronic newspaper outlets has become very popular. “In fact, Internet news may be sought even more when and if government restriction prohibits users from getting the news they want, resulting in internet news supplementing or even replacing traditional mass media news sources in these environments. The rise of The Internet has impacted and changed our communication models as well.” (Christie 2009) The communication model formed by the Internet and its corresponding technology has served as a way to circumvent the historic one-way mass media communication model and is also providing new communication options to consumers as well as marketers. As these additional communication options open up to consumers, the challenge for the consumer is the ability to judge the source of information than that, news or promotional offers confidently. The Internet, by its nature both proliferates communication and dilutes its integrity. This creates a challenge for those involved in integrated marketing communications. It may be possible or even simple to get information to people via the Internet or the blogosphere or Facebook or other electronic media and social networking platforms; however, it is a different challenge to convince those receiving the communication of its importance or even its authenticity. (Cheng 2009)
“Traditional attempts to build communication awareness outside of traditional media are labeled word-of-mouth, creating a buzz, leveraging the media, or network marketing. On the internet, marketers the label is viral marketing and social networks can be the conduit to transmit a marketing "virus". Pitta describes the virus as a part of viral marketing, which describes “any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others.” The virus model is apt. In medicine, viruses grow and replicate by finding a susceptible host, and quietly copying themselves until they reach a critical mass to overwhelm the healthy host. A single virus cell can replicate to double with each generation and grows very quickly. The critical element to understand is that a virus does not provide its own resources for growth. They use the resources of the host to multiply and they can grow exponentially. Viruses replicate repeatedly with geometrically increasing power, doubling in numbers with each successive iteration. For our purposes in the marketing world, the viral model...