Social Media Marketing: Marketing Panacea or the Emperor’s New Digital Clothes?


Published in 1837, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes tells the tale of two weavers who present a non-existent suit of clothes to the Emperor with the caution that the suit is invisible to those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. As the Emperor parades in his underwear no one dares to say that they see no clothes— with the exception for one small child who exclaims; “he isn’t wearing anything at all.”
Fast forward to the present day and business owners and managers around the world are told that anyone who cannot see the benefits of social media marketing are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. As organizations, brands and products fill the social media landscape with meaningless, objective less drivel that has interest to no one and serves only to waste resources and alienate customers, a small voice can be heard exclaiming; “who told you that was a good idea?”
The caveat to this contemporary tale is that for a very few organizations, brands and products, social media has provided a kind-of marketing panacea. Correction: make that a very, very few organizations. For the rest, they are metaphorically parading in their digital underwear. All is not lost however. Although many have been duped in a new clothes-esque sting, and that their social media market- ing efforts are indeed, invisible—but marketing on social media might just be riding to the rescue.

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About the Author(s)

Alan Charlesworth

Alan Charlesworth is a senior lecturer in marketing and digital marketing at a UK university and has been involved in marketing on the Internet in either practical, training, research, consultancy, or…

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November 17, 2017





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