Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsLISA HARRIS: We're going to be deliberately provocative. I'm going to ask some quite big questions, and Mike's going to respond with some quite interesting answers, I hope. And you may or may not agree with me or with Mike, but that's the whole point. And afterwards, we want to know what you think. Mike, don't you think it's all just amazing? Don't you know that 90% of small businesses in the UK now report using social media for marketing?

Skip to 0 minutes and 32 secondsMIKE MOLESWORTH: Well, the language you've represented there is that of hype. Lots of people are using it, it's all really amazing, it's all really wonderful. And this is a kind of form of technological determinism, this belief that the future is driven by technology, and business and marketing driven by technology. But I think the problem when we use these headline figures is we miss the fact that we don't know how many of those have routinised the use of social media or the internet for marketing. And we certainly don't know their success. We also don't know the problems they've had with it.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsSo we have to look behind these headline figures and say, well, what's actually happening, and this is actually a benefit to businesses?

Skip to 1 minute and 9 secondsLISA HARRIS: But there's huge sums of money involved. In 2013, there was more than six billion pounds spent on advertising online. And that's a huge sum of money.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 secondsMIKE MOLESWORTH: But again, this just really speaks to the size of the advertising market behind new media. So what we have is a host of new marketing agencies all putting together new advertising packages, and selling them to marketers. It really doesn't tell us about the success of those particular techniques. So you look at something like banners, which even 10 years ago, were seen as the staple advertising platform. And now, it's widely recognised that they simply don't work. And yet, there's still banners everywhere, and there's still people buying them. And there's still lots of companies trying to sell them.

Skip to 1 minute and 50 secondsLISA HARRIS: But what about mobile though? You can't deny how huge that's getting. 35% of advertising spend is now on mobile.

Skip to 1 minute and 57 secondsMIKE MOLESWORTH: Yeah. And again, the problem there is all we really see is that having failed to make any headway with banners or with interstitial ads on laptop and desktop platforms. Now this kind of industry that's trying to make money out of marketing managers has moved into mobile. And we were talking earlier that we have all sorts of ads appear on the apps that we download. And yet, it's very hard to find anyone who's ever declared one of those useful as useful to them or clicked on it other than by a mistake. So actually, what you're seeing here is a kind of sophisticated marketing of marketing going on, and lots of companies buying it.

Skip to 2 minutes and 34 secondsBut what we need to do is to take a step back and say, well, how is this working? Is it effective? Are there downsides to it?

Skip to 2 minutes and 39 secondsLISA HARRIS: But what about video though? That's getting really big, especially short form videos like Vine. Coke, for example, is doubling its spend on short form video in 2014.

Skip to 2 minutes and 49 secondsMIKE MOLESWORTH: Yeah. Well, one way of looking at that is just there's an endless series of innovations. And this market seems to work on a new platform comes along. People adopt it, they try it. They actually end up getting bored with it often, and then they move onto the next one. And there's no real evaluation. But one of our jobs is to actually evaluate how this works. But having said that, I think there is scope for innovation, and the use of video forms, nontraditional advertising video forms, is definitely one of the areas that possibly will continue to grow and actually find some role in the marketplace.

Skip to 3 minutes and 21 secondsLISA HARRIS: And what about all these new services like Snapchat, for example? Surely that offers huge opportunity for marketers?

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 secondsMIKE MOLESWORTH: Yeah. Well, Snapchat, I think, is interesting. And again, what you're saying is, here's another platform that comes along, and you have a whole host of consultants who go along to companies and say, well what you really need is a Snapchat account. But Snapchat also perhaps tells us that not all of these platforms are suitable for marketing. Now, if you look at the way that Snapchat is used by young people, we could question whether this is actually a platform that marketers would want to be on.

Skip to 3 minutes and 49 secondsLISA HARRIS: OK. So that was a very quick run through, some of the current debates in digital marketing. And now we'd love to hear your views.

Is digital marketing a force for good or evil?

In this video you meet Mike Molesworth who is debating with Lisa about whether digital marketing is effective or not.

It’s impossible to read or watch a news report these days without discovering that we are all addicted to our cell phones, or we spend more time each day on our devices than we do sleeping, or that nobody buys newspapers any more.

At the same time, we hear scare stories about companies stealing our personal data, or teenagers choosing dates based on naked pictures posted on Snapchat. So are these developments positive or negative, and for whom?

We deliberately present very contrasting views on recent developments in digital marketing, to get you thinking about and sharing your own position on these issues with other learners.


In the following two Steps Lisa and Mike take it in turns to build their respective cases.

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Digital Marketing: Challenges and Insights

University of Southampton

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