As more and more businesses seek to leverage social media most are turning to their advertising agencies because they think of social media as marketing. The agencies then do what they do best, finding ways to put lipstick on a pig.
Advertising agencies are known best for their creativity. Many have added “social media practices” to their portfolio of services they offer clients. Since social media is being touted as a “marketing channel” businesses are either outsourcing it to their agencies or giving their marketing departments the responsibility to “manage it”.
These decisions will lead to or already have created an accident looking for a place to happen. While social media adds value to advertising and marketing processes it cannot cover up operational and cultural problems rather it will accentuate them. In other words you can “put lipstick on a pig” but it will still stand out as a pig.
Dressing Up Doesn’t Cover Up
Marketing and advertising activities are aimed at “dressing up” a message, an image or the value proposition offered to specific markets. Dressing up requires creativity aimed at capturing people’s attention, attracting them to and through a message and ultimately motivating them to engage. However if the “body of your message” isn’t backed up by the performance of the operations then the attention and attraction you created will be a big disappointment when people decide to engage. Marketing and advertising can dress your organization up all day long but it can’t cover up organizational problems that impact market relations.
Dressing Up Should Accentuate The Experience
My wife is smart, talented, centered, sensitive, drop dead gorgeous and simply put an outstanding person. If you ever had the opportunity to meet her and engage in a conversation she would definitely get your attention and you would be attracted by her spirit, her beauty, her intelligence and her conversation. Dressed up or not she creates an relational experience that leaves a lasting impression. After conversing with her you would remember the experience because dressed up or not the substance of who she is doesn’t require any “lipstick”. When she does dress up her attraction is only magnified by who and what she is from the inside out, not the outside in.
The essence of the the story about my wife relates to the mindset of corporations and their view of social media. Relying on advertising and marketing firms to maximize the use of social media on your behalf is only effective if the inside of your company is as good as the message pushed out to the market. If you are good, I mean really good, on the inside then that alone should create enough viral media, consumer conversations, attention, attraction and market awareness more than any traditional advertising or marketing campaign you could ever run.
One other thing. Marketing and advertising from the inside out doesn’t cost as much as from the outside in. Get it? No? Look at what Zappo’s did simply by creating outstanding customer service driven by an open and transparent culture were employees were proud to not only deliver outstanding service but share their own experience with the market of conversations. Just in case you didn’t know, Zappo’s sold shoes! Get that?
What say you?