Marketing Should Be the LAST Department to Be in Social Media

Filed in Sharisax Is Out There 16 comments

Social Media Marketing is the BUZZ these days, and that IS what this article is all about: However, according to Axel Schultze. Chairman of the Social Media Academy, and my instructor for the first Leadership Class of 2010:

“Marketing is only ONE component. We must shift in all departments. Social Media initiatives cannot work without a buy-in from all areas of an organization.”

That being said, the Marketing and PR people in an organization are those responsible for the communication functions, and as such need to be aware that what’s worked in the past just isn’t working anymore:

  • For one thing, Advertising isn’t working because there’s just too much of it.
  • People no longer believe the glitzy productions that advertisers are throwing in our faces. We may be entertained, but we don’t “buy it.”
  • Ads no longer stick with us. Marketers “assume” that consumers are listening.
  • The Push Era is over: Broadcasting one-way messages leaves us out. Marketers today must listen to us, bring us in, and then we will listen to them.

Here are more of my take-aways from our last class session on

“The Changing Face of a Marketing and PR department”

1. Brand “attitude” has changed. It is all about PEOPLE identifying and associating themselves with brands. We are drawn to the people we see in ads.

2. We need to forget distinguishing between B2B and B2C: we are all customers of someone else.

3. When we market today, it is an US to US.

4. Beware of simply adding social media as a new “tool”; you may find you are simply making noise.

5. Companies cannot outsource social media and expect the best results; an agency cannot discuss topics in a forum without involvement of the sales, procurement, and support teams.

6. Planning is critical and should begin with ASSESSMENT, i.e. who your customers are, where they hang out, what they talk about, and what they need.

7. Biggest mistake is jumping in without knowing what you are doing; you need to strategize before you go too far: Goal, Mission, Benefits, Action Programs, Reporting — all need to go into developing strategy.

8. Social media plans must include ongoing research: monitoring, lead generation, internal escalation [responsiveness to leads].

9. Traditional “roll-outs” no longer work. Customers need to be part of the planning and implementation process. Customer Advisory Boards have always been powerful, but today they are HUGE, i.e. your entire customer base can play this role.

10. The distinctions between PR and Marketing are dissolving; the social media marketing team must build relationships with bloggers, traditional press, industry associations, educators, users and key influencers wherever they are to be found.

In this New Era of New Media, if a company does not have a Vision and a Strategy, the tools do not matter. Working with and through the consumer community is the path to success in the New Future.

Anyone hear of any valuable social media planning tools that have worked for your organization?

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Posted by Shari Weiss   @   8 March 2010
Tags : , , , ,
Mar 8, 2010
3:08 pm

I like your ten points. Very useful. Thanks.

But here’s the statement that drew me in. Where can I read more on this?
“Marketing is only ONE component. We must shift in all departments. Social Media initiatives cannot work without a buy-in from all areas of an organization.”

Author Mar 8, 2010
4:09 pm

Hey, Mike, thanks for connecting here, and I’m happy that the points were useful.
Re: the HEADLINE point, here’s an idea — do you have specific questions? If so I could put together an article or two to provide answers, especially since my teacher Axel Schultze will be happy to answer the questions for me.
We are half way through the class, so perhaps some of my previous lessons could provide you some answers.

Mar 8, 2010
10:18 pm
#3 Greg Norton :

An excellent list of insights. I thought these things were as obvious as “inhale, exhale” and just as important, but I guess some people still need to be told.

Cynical comments by point:
1. A timeless and valuable point. The writer must not have been paying attention to brand advertising during the past 30 years (cf soft drinks, beers, cars, brokerages, banks, etc) or realizes the audience of marketeers hasn’t been paying attention (or hasn’t realized the obvious.)

2. Duh. B2B and B2C are simply segmentation concepts, and the segments remain distinct even as both continue to evolve, merge, re-separate, and re-merge.

3. Humans have always preferred US to US communications and interactions. As it becomes more available, anyone who ignores or misuses a new way of interacting with humans will lose to competitors who do it better.

4. True of any new tool: email, web pages, direct mail, newspapers, telephone, telegraph, and on and on.

5. A crucial realization often ignored: outsourcing any communication with customers can be a big mistake. Has been true since vineyards were sold in Jesus’ time.

6. Another crucial point too-often overlooked by those who see marketing as a “broadcast” activity. Properly done, the marketing mix is part of the product, just like features, options, and pricing. In some segments, (e.g., mass-market beers, soft drinks) the marketing mix is more important than hard features.

7. Sounds like Project Management. Of course. Even Caesar knew these things.

8. In other words, just like all marketing. Social media is a new tool, not a new discipline.

9. I’ve never seen a traditional roll out. The successful ones are always matched to customers’ needs and expectations, utilizing the latest tools (town criers, handbills, bulletin boards, newspapers, whatever). Successful matching has always utilized insights gained from communicating with customers, through advisory boards or research or simply lucky guesses.

10. What dissolution? PR has always been an element of Marketing.

Concluding paragraph:
In this New Era of Homo Sapiens (i.e., for the last 100,000 years) if an organization does not have a Vision and a Strategy (implicit or explicit) the tools do not matter. What matters is that this is news to some people.

Author Mar 9, 2010
1:00 am

Greg, I’m honored . . . that you spent so much time with “me” — thanks for your insights.

One of the key points in my “world” — or should I say former world as a PR teacher in a marketing department — is that PR has always been more of a communication function than a “mere” marketing function, i.e., a much broader range of publics than simply consumers.

The biggest problem with the #10 point/issue is that not only are these revolutionary changes not “obvious” to a whole slew of people, but they’re too protective of their turf to understand that what WAS, no longer IS.

Thanks again for letting me express myself again.

But I’d be interested to know how you felt about Social Media strategy as a Whole Company Mindset, and not just the marketing people.
If you’d like to contribute a Guest Post on the subject, please let me know.

Mar 9, 2010
3:59 am

Does this model also work for inside the company – i.e greater engagement and transparency. Read a book a long time ago (read many more since) called Maverick – Ricardo Semple I think about democracy in the workplace. Think it was in the early 90s – maybe too early for its time but can social media help create a more democratic workplace – and is this a good thing?

Author Mar 9, 2010
11:15 am

Hi Mark,
As a long time PR professor, who has always campaigned for honesty and “listening” in the workplace, I would hope that the fruits of a Social Media Environment would be very beneficial within the workplace. Whether this indicates “democracy” or not may be a different question. To my mind, democracy is an abstraction, and I’m not doing politics in this blog. 🙂

Mar 9, 2010
10:10 am

Very nice Shari!

Author Mar 9, 2010
11:16 am

Thanks, fellow classmate, Jorge.
Did I leave anything out that particularly resonated with you?

Mar 9, 2010
10:35 am

Hi Shari,

Social Media, and Social Media Marketing in particular, is growing beyond the ability for it to just be one more subdivision of the Marketing/PR department. It is becoming important for there to be not just daily involvement, but hourly. If one desires good metrics, and a resultantly increased ROI, one MUST be involved with the SMM campaign on a full time basis. There is just too much going on to say, “Oh yeah, we’ll let Bill do all that as soon as he’s finished with those reports.” That is ineffective. You’re either in or out. And if you’re in, you have to be in for the long haul, not just some half-hearted attempt. The sooner corporations learn this, the better their SMM endeavors will result.

Author Mar 9, 2010
11:19 am
#10 Shari Weiss :

Gregory, if you and I keep up this conversation, we can help change the world.
I agree with everything you say above; however, I fear that the “uninitiated” and heretofore “unconvinced” may read this and think that this “full-time” effort means full-time for everyone. How I see your perspective here is that the company itself, from the top down, must understand the value of Social Communication, i.e. honesty, authenticity, supportiveness, and frame their daily work with this in mind.

Mar 9, 2010
2:06 pm
#11 ADL :

Shari, just wanted to applaud you on on the way you express yourself. Some of the issues mentioned here have provoked angry responses and comments in other blogs I’ve seen. The manner in which you state your opinion is professional, thoughtful and without “turf” if you get my drift. Kudos and thanks for your work.

Author Mar 9, 2010
2:32 pm
#12 Shari Weiss :

WOW, Adlee, thank you so much for the kind words.
Interestingly enough, one of my recent posts asked for the ROI of Blog Comments: And here we have one wonderful “return” [i.el, the R in ROI].
Thanks again.

Mar 9, 2010
11:48 pm

In retrospect we can see that direct human contact has merely been a sublimation of the social media drive.

Mar 17, 2010
2:49 pm

Shari, great post. If only marketing were the last to use social media in a company! Marketers have so many opportunities for at best ineffective use and at worse abuse. And Word of Mouth/Mouse will only continue to be increasingly important as the SM tools enable it.

Author Mar 17, 2010
5:04 pm
#15 Shari Weiss :

Ginger, thanks for “joining the conversation” here. I see you have begun your own marketing blog and I wish you a lot of luck and enjoyment sharing your knowledge.

I noticed your most recent blog post was on Google Wave. Have you used it? AND, more importantly to me, do you have an opinion on Google Buzz? The Buzz on Buzz seems to have come and gone . . . or is it just in hiding?

Mar 17, 2010
5:33 pm
#16 Ginger Merkle :

Thanks for the kind words Shari. I’ve only seen demos of Google Wave as it’s still in beta, although you can be invited to try it. Wave has much more potential than Buzz, I think. I ignored Buzz as soon as my network said it only worked if your connections were active on google mail. Seemed pretty limiting to me. I’d agree the Buzz is bust.

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