Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marketing in the Social Space is Still Marketing

A colleague recently talked about a social networking presentation given at her public relations agency - 60-plus employees in New York City. She said that the young woman presenting was treated in a God-like manner because she was an expert in this new space - but what she said was Marketing 100.

I wrote about marketing for senior executives in the late 1990s and after five years handed off my newsletter because I thought there was nothing new to say.

Despite what the social networking consultants tell you - marketing is still marketing no matter what space your in.

What's changed is the medium and delivery system.

A recent Online Spin blog posting by Joe Marchese entitled "A Marketers' Dilemma" said in the social networking space marketers are trying a bunch of tactics including:

Humor - It seems some marketers think the secret to success is to be funny or edgy, in hopes of achieving "viral" status.

Responsiveness - Get my attention and keep it by in many cases flooding me with content.

Keep it Fresh - Adapt the style of the medium to your product/service.

Show you Care - Reward your customers for sticking with you in tough times and show you care by giving to others.

Each one of these is a basic marketing tactic as old as Coca Cola. The bottom line is you're in a new medium - respect its rules. His advice is basic marketing too. I've translated for those over 30.

You don't want your marketing program built too heavily around one particular tactic. Mix them up. Translation: We used to call this integration - it means use a variety of tactics that all work together to achieve a common goal.

You want to be funny, but not so funny that you lose your message. Translation - humor gets attention but it doesn't sell the product. Think of the MacIntosh ads on television with the fake Bill Gates refusing to acknowledge there are problems with Vista. They are hilarious but also drive home a product message that Microsoft is too rich and doesn't care about its customers.

You want to be responsive, but only when people are talking to you, or you have something very relevant to say. Translation don't flood me with information because I will stop paying attention.

You want to give something back to the conversation. Don't just talk to keep the dialogue going - Translation give me tangible benefits for why I should keep talking to you.

You want to be authentic. Translation - Blatant self-promotion turns people off. DUH.

The social networking space fascinates me and I know that whichever marketer figures out how to use it well early wins. But I'm still astonished by how all of the "experts" treat it as though nothing came before it. Go read a classic marketing textbook. It's all there.


  1. Aimee!! Bravo!!! Finally somebody that gets it!! I thought I was going crazy with all the people thinking that online is the only media/strategy that is valid for marketing your products/services!!

    Please, feel free to read my blogs and I hope your rejoice in the fact that there are sister souls that support you on this quest.

    Warmest regards,


  2. Yes! Thank you! Social media and all the 'new media' are just more tools in the tool box. Balance is the word here between new media and what is now being called traditional media.

    Use what works for clients -- start with the research, talk to the customers, listen to what's being said, develop the underlying strategy and build a plan that provides value for the client.

    There's more than one way to skin a cat -- and what clients want is results and in truth, it doesn't matter how you produce them. A marketer is a marketer is a marketer!

    Please check out my blogs and thanks for saying it so well, Aimee!