Having been in ‘classical marketing’ (ie. brand management’) and every area of traditional marketing with the CPG world for 25 years, I found myself asking this very question several months ago. Is this just a fad? Can I really market products effectively this way? I knew these areas were hot, but wasn’t it just dominated by kids? Such questions are likely being asked by many ‘decision-makers’ in marketing departments everywhere.
The truth is, Marketers now have a critical choice that has seemingly come out of nowhere. Either ‘get in front of it’ (social media)…or get buried under it (the wave is escalating and coming right for you). Those that fear change may very well be those ‘decision-makers’ who fear their lack of knowledge may undermine their position of authority. These ‘politicians’ who raise pessimism about Social Media are only seeking to serve themselves. Fortunately, many will be quick to ’embrace change’. Common sense tells me that the earliest adopters of change associated with Social Media are (or will be) those that adopted these new tech waves early, and in their personal lives.
My advise is this: If your marketing department is ‘led’ by ‘experienced veterans of marketing’ like myself, someone needs to bring these folks down to the level of ‘learning’ from ‘less classically experienced marketers’ who know a whole lot about this impending wave of influence…and fast! I knew little about social media and networks six months ago. I viewed static websites, interacted a little with the latest 2.0 websites, read a blog or two, and used LinkedIn for networking sake. In the last six months, I have become immersed in Social Media having the good fortune of being partnered with a nationally recognized Social Media expert who ranks 120 worldwide by Ad Age, has authored books on the subject, speaks to large corporate forums, and refers them to his blogs (100s of thousands of daily followers).
Social Media can be monetized…our model calls itself “Conversational Currency(TM)”. Social Media will ultimately change everything we marketers do. Mass marketing is dying a slow death. Consider TV, Radio, Print, and couponing…they’re all in a free fall and blame it on the economy. Guess what mass media, when the economy fully recovers…you won’t. This little thing called ‘Social Media’ has concurrently flourished and will fill the gap you expect to regain in the years ahead.
‘New Guys Help the Old Guys’ applied in the days when laptop training came to Corporate America. Even more applicable today with ‘Social Meda’.
Are you an ‘Old Guy’ or a ‘New Guy’?