Breaking the Fourth Wall in Marketing: Necessary for Success?

When it comes to current marketing strategies, social media pops up a lot. In fact, if your company is not on the band wagon yet then you may be considered behind the times and need to remedy this ASAP (Flaxington, 2015). Building one’s brand in a digital age means understanding how your company can use this inexpensive and fast method of connecting to consumers and keeping them hooked (Vaynerchuk, 2013).  Engaging consumers is often looked at in social media (tweeting/retweeting, sharing/liking, commenting, hashtags, etc.) as a way of not only promoting one’s brand but building a lasting relationship with your audience as customers and not people (Girdler, 2014, What the Fourth Wall Does).

customerControl_infographic_v2

The “fourth wall” is described as the space that separates a performer or performance from an audience (Faux, 2014, p.1).  So breaking this wall allows people watching to interact with the performer or in this case, the brand or company.  Social media is a great way for marketers to get through this “wall” and allow their consumers to react/share and give feedback in real time.  However, is this necessary?  Do companies need to be more entertaining and push the boundaries of consumer/brand relationships in order to be successful? TV ads have done this already with commercials (Faux, 2014) but what about social media?

customer-engagement-cycle

Well, it would seem that customer engagement can lead to many positive things for your brand such as brand loyalty, awareness or customer referrals to friends (“word of mouth”) (Flaxington, 2015).  However, to keep consumers engaged with your brand constantly can be a challenge.  It’s not enough to have a Twitter or Facebook page telling people what your current product promotion is when they come out…there has to be new, fresh material on a consistent basis and it better be good (Vaynerchuk, 2013).  The more likes, retweets, comments and shares or reblogs can let a company know what works and what does not.  While breaking this wall may not be the final answer for success in marketing it can certainly help in creating interest and new buyers while keeping customers tuned in to what your brand is doing. In fact, you may even be able to get them to provide some ideas for your next campaign.

References:

Faux, C. (2014, February 16). Breaking the fourth wall. JB Chicago. Retrieved from http://www.jbchicago.com/breaking-the-fourth-wall/

Flaxington, B. (2015, July 21). Four proven principles for success on social media.       ValueWalk. Retrieved from http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/07/social-media-for-financial-advisors/

Girdler, J. (2014, July 10). When marketers break the fourth wall. Social Media Today. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/when-marketers-break-fourth-wall

Vaynerchuk, G. (2013). Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy, social world.

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3 Responses to Breaking the Fourth Wall in Marketing: Necessary for Success?

  1. Marnae says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Great post. I feel like the features of various social media platforms allow marketers to create different content to engage their audience. For example, look at how Instagram has evolved. Marketers are able to post short video clips in different ways. Various platforms offer marketers various ways to tell their story to an audience.

  2. Destinee says:

    Hey Lauren,

    This is an outstanding topic! My mom actually owns a bakery in the Bay Area (Danville, CA) and I’ve been working to turn around our social media accounts before we open up our new location this September. Prior to me getting access to all of our social media accounts (Facebook and Instagram), my mom was posting quite often as if she was “friends” with out customers. Quite honestly, she’s not very tech savvy and it got slightly embarrassing at times- she doesn’t understand the concept of a hashtag no matter how many times I’ve explained it!

    In any case, since I’ve taken control of the situation, we’ve gotten a very rapid uptick in followers to both of our accounts! Based on each websites figures (we can look at number of views/likes/shares to gauge how well a post does) I can accredit this to the latest posts that I’ve attempted “break down the fourth wall” and engage our customers.

    Since this is just the beginning stage of an entirely new outlook on how social media can help bring customers into our business, I cannot wait to see what results of this method will be like a few months from now.

    Thanks for sharing!

    – Destinee Cordeiro

    *note, the name of business has been omitted so that my mom/our customers don’t Google us and see this comment! 😉 It’s the best bakery in town!

  3. Valerie says:

    Hi Lauren,

    It seems like breaking this fourth wall is becoming more and more of a necessity for b2c companies. Opening up that fourth wall is frightening because you cannot control what comes through and then what becomes visible to your other consumers. It seems like the companies that excel at social media have a great plan in place and know how they will react when things go wrong or complaints come through.