Social v Marketing

Social Marketing

Over at is a post that sorta set a fire up under my butt. Here’s the title :

What’s it take to be a social media expert? Not much, apparently

You’ll find nice things like this there:

“According to a survey conducted by MarketingSherpa, it doesn’t take much to be an expert, at least if you’re a marketer working at an organization that isn’t using social media”

Well, duh. Sure doesn’t take alot to not do something. How about this one:

“Yes, there are plenty of interesting social media marketing case studies but there are few tried and true techniques that can be applied consistently by practitioners. Everybody is still trying to figure this stuff out.”

Or this one:

“When it comes to putting together viable marketing strategies, executing them successfully, integrating them with multi-channel efforts and tracking ROI, the skills of a professional marketer are must-haves. Without these skills, otherwise creative and potentially successful campaigns will most often fail because marketing is as much about implementation and execution as it is about passion and creativity.”

Hey! I agree with that last one. The emphasis you see there is in the original. And I DO agree with Exactly what it says.

Social vs Marketing

But marketing campaigns are not the same as Social Marketing. And realizing this goes a long way toward understanding why ‘there are few tried and true techniques that can be applied consistently’. (That statement about everybody trying to figure this stuff out is just bunk, in my opinion.)

Social Marketing is simple, as I’ll explain below. But an essential nature of Social Marketing is that it is eternally dynamic. One man’s trash, another man’s treasure and all that. It’s not that there are no rules, no methods, no ‘tried and true’ knowledge.

There are rules, but most of them change depending on the current circumstances. Plus, what works today may not tomorrow, even with the same customers. (That’s why I just don’t get these automated ‘social’ tools. Where is the social in that?)

Back to rules. If you can’t get the 1st one right, then go back to your campaigns:

RULE 1: Do all you can to foster a friendship with the customer.

How do you measure that? Where is your metric and your chart and your Powerpoint presentation for that? Are you really comfortable setting goals that can only be measured over timespans of decades?

So how do you know if you’re being successful? Easy. Ask yourself this simple question with each interaction – Did I help this person?

See, this is where ‘old’ business and ‘new’ business marketers diverge. Strange thing is, the ‘new’ is actually the ‘really old but we forgot it’.

Once upon a time, a long time ago businesses survived because they nurtured relationships with their customers. Nearly all marketing was social. Then came radio, with its slick sound bites, and later television, adding visual impact to the message. Marketing took on a new face, and it had a mouth that was telling its customers what they wanted.

Then came the internet and just like that, the mystique of The Corporation was gone. Suddenly the customers demanded to be heard, and leveraging the power of instant communication they are achieving their goals. Generations of marketing techniques which worked just a few short years ago now fail. Social media allowed the rebirth of social marketing.

Parry and Twist (yeah, the dance)

The following excerpt is from a comment that seemed pretty representative of the comments there.

“A good marketer is holistic and recognizes that before you can come up with an idea for a campaign or commit a significant amount of resource to a particular path (eg. social media), you have to understand what the brands needs, what its goals are, how their achievement will be measured, which stakeholders need to be involved, … etc. etc. etc.”

I chose to respond to it. Here’s what I wrote:

“Don’t most of you get that Social is about relationships with the customer? Where is the customer mentioned in that rant above? To ‘marketers’ it’s all about what the company gets out of a campaign. That’s why you guys are being replaced by folks who, whether you like it or not, are redefining your field. By the very ones you are sneering at with your noses held high.

Social Media is a tool. Social Marketing is about relating (really) with your customer, finding out what that customer wants, and then doing whatever you can to provide the solution. This stuff isn’t rocket science, most of it’s just common sense.

How many of you have heard this: ‘The only reason any company ever exists is because of repeat business.’ That extraordinarily old saying is an expression of the results of social marketing. If you buy used cars, will you buy again from some shallow guy with a good pitch and the right price, or from the guy who takes the time to get to know you, finds out what you want and why, and gives you a reasonable price? That guy won’t be selling used cars for very long…”

OK OK so I’m not a social media expert, I don’t have millions of followers (he said, looking back over his shoulder) and hell, I’m barely alive.

But I can still rant. And even ranting can be social, sometimes.