I wrote a post, and you (insert liked or hated) it
Last week I wrote a post suggesting a social media service provider should possess marketing acumen.
While I stand behind that, I thought it interesting that several people pointed out that all marketing types aren’t suited for social media. On this point I agree. So I’d like to dive a bit deeper and share more of my thoughts, fwiw.
I stumbled upon this quote from Scott Monty, who heads Ford’s SM program, and thought it relevant:
“Let’s not kid ourselves. Using social media as part of your marketing mix is far more than recruiting some über-connected individual who can bring attention to your brand. It starts with crafting a strategy and understanding what your business objectives are. And it means never, ever taking your eye off the customer and doing what matters – providing value to them. After all, isn’t that what you’re in business for?”
Two points I zeroed in on: 1) That social media is part of marketing and 2) There are skill sets required beyond the ability to amass followers.
So, if it’s a marketing program, doesn’t it make sense to have a person with some marketing background head the program? Or, at the very least contain the overall program within the marketing department?
Once upon a time ….
“Interactive” agencies were born – from a need. I remember those times well, and (as a marketing leader) it was a hassle to hire two separate agencies for what – IMO – needed to be integrated efforts.
I had each whispering their specific agenda into my ear, albeit with good intentions, but their viewpoint was decidedly one-sided. They weren’t thinking around the sum total of all efforts/programs. My job was to look at the bigger picture: The overarching strategy, how these executables supported my company’s strategic imperatives, and how I benchmark and measure each.
I was caught in a tug-o-war between experts in their particular, specific fields. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I needed experts. However, if the web shop had more “traditional” brand strategy experience (and appreciated its magnitude), or my agency had web capabilities it would have made my life easier.
Fast forward to smart “traditional” agencies that, foreseeing the coming paradigm shift, staffed up with the specialized talent (creative, strategic and techie) to offer all services under one roof. (Can you imagine any agency now failing to offer web development?)
Now, while a plethora of specialty shops (agencies or consultants) exist, be it by industry- or discipline-specific, for the most part the great divide of “traditional” vs. interactive is arguably lessened.
See where I’m going?
No matter the offering (creative services, social media, product development, user experience, etc.) a strategic roadmap must exist.
If social media consultants/agencies lack the depth to understand how to build their engagement roadmap around a company’s specific brand, positioning (and other) strategic requirements and know how to measure results against business objectives, how can the company possibly execute successfully and without diluting brand?
I’m not talking about contrived or canned conversation. I’m talking about engaging in a manner that is consistent with the brand, be it in tactic, tone or voice.
We can rebuild it
I agree that marketers don’t automatically or necessarily have the chops to execute against social media initiatives. Having said that, smart social media consultants/agencies that lack “traditional” marketing experience will be wise to take a page from the history books and staff up (or partner) with marketing types in order to offer a deeper, more well-rounded set of offerings.
Note: IMHO, while they’re at it they’d be wise to bring in folks that understand how the move toward the semantic web could shift things to best position themselves for where the puck will be, as opposed to where it is now.
My bet is, as this happens and these new bundled service offerings evolve and then become main stream, we will lose the term “social media”. But that’s another post.
Another point was raised regarding programs, trainings or seminars on social media. I was not referring to programs that teach about social media concepts, tools, how-to’s, etc. Rather, I was speaking of firms or consultants paid for services provided.
p.s. Wow, long post. I feel like Rob Hahn, except a girl and not as smart.