Classic Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing- Direction of Communication & Scheduling

There are several different aspects that make classic and social media marketing different, but today I just want to focus on two- direction of communication and scheduling.

Direction of Communication

Classic marketing, simply put, is advertising on television, radio, and print (including billboards, etc.). Messages via classic marketing are a one-way conversation, getting the message out to the masses with no ability of receiving a direct response in return. On the flipside, social media marketing allows for a two-way conversation as the marketer puts their message out to the world via a social media platform, and consumers can respond automatically.

Working in radio I am probably more defensive over classic media being a strong contender versus social media, but in reality it is a strong integration of both that would allow for a business to reach the most amount of consumers to have both a one-way and two-way conversation. According to an article on, the strength in classic media comes from its ability to relay the same strong message to the masses without it being skewed. For some companies, this is most important. An advertisement on television, radio, or print will have been put together by marketing departments, public relations, agencies, and production teams. These teams are professionals and the public’s response to their message will not be as instantaneous. Social media advertisements are less likely to reach as many consumers, but the ability for the consumer to communicate directly with a business is very important. If a consumer has questions, comments, praises, or complaints, replying to a tweet or Facebook post will open up the door for the business to answer, thank, or explain. Consumers are also able to share messages on social media, which then can help spread a business’ message, but most likely it will not reach nearly as many consumers as classic media.

Kmart has recently set a great example of how integrating both classic and social media can help increase brand awareness. In 2013, the big box retail store released an edgy commercial on television as well as YouTube that took no time to go viral. According to an article on, in just over a week the ad “Ship My Pants” received just over 13million views online (see below). This helped bring attention back to the store that struggles to compete with Walmart and Target. Through classic media, the store was able to reach mass audiences, but through social media, they were able receive a positive reaction and have since released additional edgy commercials.


One of the beneficial traits of social media over classic media is its ability to relay a message instantly. I can tell you from working in radio that should a business decide they want to pull an ad and replace it immediately with something different, there are a lot of steps and several departments involved. Nothing happens immediately in classic marketing. In social media on the other hand, messages can be changed out within minutes.

Since classic marketing is used to reach a mass audience, usually having such scheduled messages is a plus. Advertisements are planned out; ads are placed in certain time frames, certain magazines or newspapers, or ran during specific shows to reach the target audience. The ads are thought out and usually will be noncontroversial due to the inability to instantly remove them should the need arise. With social media marketing, a tweet, Facebook post, snapchat, or other form or advertising can be sent out at any time of day to consumers. This is great way to inform consumers of sales, events, contests, or announcements, or in the event of national or local news, show your company’s support or concern. A great example of this is Runner’s World, who used its company’s current popularity during the Boston Marathon to retweet and tweet updates and alerts during the bombing in April 2013 .

RW tweet

It should be noted though that unintentional bad can come from the ease of using social media marketing. Each message sent out onto the internet by a company should be well thought out as it can just as easily go viral and market the company in a negative way. A great example of this is an apology issued by Oreo after an automatic reply tweet that responded to a Twitter handle with offensive language was viewed by hundreds of followers (view here). Though, there is also the case of being too careful with social media statuses. In an article by, it was made public that before a text, tweet, post, blog, etc. was submitted for the Mitt Romney campaign, it was viewed and approved by up to 22 people working on the campaign.