The short answer to the question, Is online marketing a silver bullet? is No. In this social media article, I explain that not everyone is online, so online marketing isn’t ofr everyone. Look, if you are Coke or McDonald’s, and you are trying to grab the youth, then, yeah, you need a snazzy online marketing campaign. Infomercials still work. Ask Billy Mays or Ron Popeil or Magic Jack.
Many companies (see this article) can’t even wrap their heads around social media. Others think it will cost way too much to afford. Still others will coast with what they are currently doing.
In this economy, retaining clients is paramount. Deeper connections would help. That can be done with social media.
Next, it isn’t so much marketing as lead generation and sales. On a case by case basis social media may work for sales or lead generation. Try to remember that much of the I-made-$4000-today-on-twitter comes from affiliate marketers who don’t provide a service or a product, but test marketing widgets to game the system every day. As I was explaining to a prospective client today, he was getting sales from Search marketing (SEO or SEM) due to organic search results and WOM (word of mouth) was working, but he wanted to ramp up the sales five fold. Online marketing won’t help that to his target. Lead generation and old fashioned sales would.
You have to have a Marketing Plan (and Calendar) which includes not just strategy and message but delivery platform and measurement. Marketing takes time too. It isn’t a switch or spiget you turn on and off. It depends on what you are marketing (selling) and to who. Use the correct tool — and fish where the fish are.