It’s not happening fast enough. It’s happening at a rate that will only hurt the everyone. Social media should be fully integrated into the strategy of a marketer. It should be an automatic and active ingredient. No longer should it be viewed as an afterthought, a piece of add-on service designed to impress prospective clients that
Ad agencies and PR firms are twin towers of the marketing profession. Both seek to enhance a client’s brand through positioning a brand image and by increasing sales. Both create marketing messages and then submit them to the public in some manner to carry out this mission. Both rely on the public to respond positively to these marketing messages.
Ad people and PR people like to say that their respective industries are completely separate from one another. They’re wrong. Ad campaigns and PR campaigns feed off one another and use another’s tools. If they’re not well coordinated together, it will often lead to failure. I’m often dismayed when I hear a prospective partner on a project show absolute ignorance as to what their client’s dealings are with the client’s representative in the other industry. From what I’m seeing, that’s more often true than not
The lack of coordination wastes time, causes embarrassment, creates conflicting marketing messages, creates conflict, creates turf wars. It delays projects, makes them go over budget, wastes money, screws up priorities. Yep, that’s what it does.
Now add the aspect of social media, a whole new category that takes in elements of both advertising and PR, plus adds in a slew of its own.
Agencies today see social media as an add-on service. Perhaps one to farm out. One to farm out and control. Or, quite often, an afterthought that could be included to appear more hip to certain types of clients.
As I’ve written before, there still is a significant amount of resistance in agency people to introduce the concept of social media into their clients’ campaigns. The ad exec or the PR rep who knows little about social media doesn’t understand and doesn’t want their client know this. The marketing executive at the client company is often equally as ignorant and looks to maintain some sort of status quo campaign.
The problem here is that social media is not waiting. It’s not waiting for agencies to develop divisions for social media. It’s happening RIGHT NOW – all around them. While many (often including myself) are pushing to get a seat at the table, the concept of social media has not brought in their own table. And the action there is often initiated by some of the millions out there having online conversations about products, services, and companies.
All that activity can’t be controlled, but it can be harnessed. It can be added too. And yes, it can be managed, however delicately, with openness and respect.
Time to combine tables.