Could the rise of social media change the way companies market their products to the masses? I came across an interesting article on Adweek’s website that discussed New Balance parting ways with their global creative agency of six years. Arnold Worldwide was ditched in an effort by New Balance to make their message more consistent across the global spectrum. While the article doesn’t specifically allude to social media, I took a look at some aspects of this article and wondered whether we are going to see companies spending less on marketing agencies and focusing their funds and resources on creating a stronger social media presence.
According to the article, New Balance has already spent more money for paid media in the first three quarters of 2015 than they did in all of 2014. Numbers such as those tell me New Balance may not be satisfied with the amount of product being sold for spending millions of dollars on advertisements. The article also suggests that New Balance has begun to get help with product promotion from professional athletes as they look to move beyond footwear and compete with other top names in the active sportswear department.
Instead of spending millions of dollars to a creative agency to come up with a commercial or slogan that may or may not resonate with their target audience, why not pay athletes to promote your product instead? Find out which athletes are successful, with a clean image and pay them to do the work of the agency instead. If your favorite athlete starts posting pictures wearing New Balance shoes and clothing on their social media accounts, don’t you think that would be a pretty good tool to use for promotion and brand awareness? People want to wear the same sneakers and clothes as their favorite athletes. So why not capitalize on the athlete themselves using a free platform such as Twitter or Instagram to do the marketing for your company. Pay the athlete to promote on their pages and you’ve almost guaranteed yourself more success than gambling on an outside marketing agency to generate ideas that they think the audience wants to see.
It makes sense to me and although it would be a changing of the guard, I feel as though more and more companies will shift their focus inwards and start to really push their products through endorsements by athletes on their social media pages. It’s a much less riskier investment than gambling on a bunch of hired consultants who may or may not have any familiarity with your product and hoping they catch lightning in a bottle and the ad goes viral. Can you think of any other sportswear companies who have successfully marketed their athletes in the era of social media?