Monday, April 20, 2009

Social Media Myth #2: It will stand on its own

I mentioned in a previous post that many companies make the mistake of moving towards social media and viral campaigns because they think this is a cheaper strategy to reach the masses. Saving on the bottom line is rarely the result of such an effort. The budget just shifts. It used to be 90% media spend and 10% creative/strategy. In the online space it's flipped – with 90% creative/strategy and a 10% media spend.

The problem with looking at the budget as a model in this way is that it creates a restriction on the silos of work/formula. This takes me to the second myth of social media: It can stand alone as a marketing model. The fact that many companies are blindly jumping online, going for the cheap spend and opening the doors to consumer conversation will ultimately leave a lot of folks sour towards social media. No marketing strategy works on its own. A killer ad campaign is useless if the product sucks. 25,000 followers on Twitter won’t help your brand if you use as a spam medium. Stirring up buzz with a viral video will not serve the brand if your front line doesn’t understand it – or even knows it exists.

Rohit calls this the real joke about marketing. Lack of integration is the one constant in the marketing space at this time. We are placing more weight on the shiny new social thing and hoping it will deliver corporate harmony.

Maybe the thought of integration doesn’t work for your company. Maybe you have no choice in the matter – you're just one of a team of one hundred putting out product campaign. Then think of it this way – substitute integration for thought-intensive strategy. Direct the strategy to involve the organization as a whole while reaching the most profitable segment of your consumer base. That will sound more realistic to your peers,and will keep the focus on the end benefit for the company (not the silo of business).