I talked with Jim Blassingame on his radio show today about marketing this century. We just touched the tip of the iceberg. I have run a few different marking organizations and have been running a software company for the last 10 years. Marketing is a big and important part of my company's budget. When making a marketing decision I am continually figuring out the fully burdened cost of a lead and the cost to close business per lead. To stay in business you really need to understand your customers and product, then look at all avenues for marketing and figure out what really works. It's easy to stay with what is working. With limited time it's hard but necessary to try whats new.
Over the length of my career I have seen three waves of marketing:
Wave 1: Traditional mass marketing or also called "before the internet" marketing. This includes mass mailings, trade shows, cold calling, and media buying (news paper, magazine, ...)
Wave 2: Internet marketing includes web sites, search engine, add words, and e-mail blasts.
We have now moved into:
Wave 3: Social Networking Marketing - an easier and harder form of marketing. It's easy since new technologies have higher access rates (e.g. e-mail blasts in the 90's were much more effective before spam and spam filters cut access.) Social Networking Marketing is harder since success stories seem to be urban legends rather then acceptable practices. I know people who have done "successful" Facebook campaigns that don't bring in a penny of revenue. Still the "free" cost of social networking makes it a worthwhile cost per lead.
As with any marketing campaign, the issue is understanding the media and being able to apply this knowledge to your product and customer base. I don't see that newer waves of marketing have done away with previous waves, even though later waves take money away from previous waves. Traditional media is in a free fall as marketeers like me try out newer (and cheaper) avenues of marketing. It will be really interesting to see how this all shakes out.
If you want to hear more about my thoughts on this you can listen to my discussion with Jim: