Originally intended to leave a comment… but kept writing and decided to post 🙂
What’s next? What do you think marketers on the web need to know more about? What do you think are the services that the new generation of marketing firms have to have, now that traditional marketing isn’t always getting the job done?
In the old days, clients would choose an agency because:
1. they had great creative – “we want the guy who did the Apple commercials”
2. their ability/experience with a market segment – “gosh, they did great work for Pepsi, that experience can be used for our new energy drink”
3. The size of their network, strength of their media planning and buying – “i want the guy who knows the guy who got the placement on that hit ABC show before it was a hit AND can get my daughter tickets to the MTV Upfront party!”
New Media Marketing companies have to keep a number of chainsaws in the air:
1. Context – belief and experience in Social Media and the cred/rep/war stories/and results to go with it – just because you build websites doesnt mean you “get” blogging or twitter or any other parts of the medium. Authority isn’t popularity. Telling stories that sound suspiciously like press releases = EPIC FAIL
2. Strategic Thinking & Integration – need to see the forest from the trees and the big picture for the Brand, product, business and space in both the communication space AND the other things a client is doing. A big part of working with clients is seeing the whole map and selling through the idea that Social Media can work in lots of places outside of just the blog or wiki… having an understanding (not controlling or running, but keeping an eye on the radar and ears open) of the big picture can improve the results/performance/relationships you are building, over time. In the same way that you need to have a high degree of empathy for the users, you also need to keep in touch with the other teams – otherwise social media is a campaign and not an effort (and this is as important for clients as it is for the agencies). Long term I see PR and Marketing coming more closely together BECAUSE of Social Media and its ability to connect more deeply with users.
3. Specialization – Would I hire a New Media Marketing Co. to help me connect with Moms and Mommybloggers and the people in their spheres of attention if they only work with the Digg/Slashdot/Gamer crowd??? Just because you “get” social media in general and for one community doesn’t mean you are effective with every community/tribe/family/affinity group/audience. New Media Marketing companies need to differentiate themselves by investing and embedding themselves in these spaces, commit themselves to being a good neighbor and making their day-to-day as user-centric as the conversations they are having on behalf of their clients. That deep understanding of a community doesn’t happen during a 2-week discovery phase – you need to live it. Small, focused, real and intimate. There is a big difference between being a strategic partner (which any large or small agency wants) and being a production shop (who the hell wants to work in a blog mill?)
4. Transformation – We aren’t replacing anything – we are growing something new. While traditional marketing is becoming less effective, that doesn’t mean it is going away any time soon or a major client will suddenly drop its TV budget for videoblogging or wikis – these people have targets, and numbers and share points to reach in order to get their bonus. Clients will still use agencies and as in the 90s, they will add social media to their overall communications mix the same way they added digital media. SOcial Media efforts, as effectiveness and ROI continue to be proven will become more and more prevalent and get more and more share of budget.
5. Flexibility – basically a keen eye on the landscape and trends and the ability to translate that into value for their clients. IWOOT (I Want One Of Those) is a problem regardless of sector or industry and a large role these New Media Marketing companies must take is that of teacher/sherpa – this is a new, scary world for them, challenging for us and downright boring for digital natives.
Energy (marketing) can’t be destroyed, it just changes form – and we collectively need to make sure our intentions (that this is something different) don’t get co-opted by business as usual.