Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doubling Down on Social Media

The cuts at media publishing houses are now slicing into muscle.

Consider reports this week out of Forbes where 50 editorial positions have been slashed, including the elimination of news bureaus in Los Angeles and London.

This isn’t Toledo and Tacoma being whacked. It is simply stunning that Forbes has pulled out ground resources in two of the largest, most relevant cities in the world.

Wire service Associated Press is feeling the same economic burn. Apparently, management has told employees to prepare for a 10 percent staff reduction in 2010. That translates to more than 400 news reporting jobs set to be scraped.

The free fall of news publishing is not solely a result of the prolonged global financial downturn. There is a bigger and more game-changing factor at play here.

Simply put, the reliance by business customers and consumers on social networks and online communities as sources of high value and trusted content has marginalized the influence of traditional providers of credibility.

You have to fish where the fish are, right? And companies now recognize that their key audiences have shifted to online environments. The advertising-based business model of publishers and broadcasters is no longer viable.

What does this mean for the corporate marketing professional?

There is a more compelling business case for the integration of social media marketing activities into a company’s mix of promotional programs.

We’re still very much in the early adopter phase of social media marketing as a measurable driver of business ROI. Yet, at Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) we’ve spent the better part of two years running campaigns for clients like Microsoft, Monster, British Telecom (BT), BearingPoint, Sun Microsystems, Inmarsat, Spirent, GovDelivery and BroadSoft.

This experience has given us insight into lots of best practices.

Ultimately, there will be winners and losers when it comes to where people spend a majority of their time. My bet is on social media.


allison bliss consulting said...

very interesting,thanks for this. do share your case studies so we know what's real and what's bs about social media.

Sean Williams said...

Marc - I just wrote a similar post, but from the "whither the media" and PR perspective. The dearth of strong case studies of social media effectiveness is an issue. KD Paine has a grand one on her work with the University of Georgia, which features (as one would expect) nearly peerless measurement strategy. I'm working with ... a significant quasi-governmental organization on a measurement strategy that, if they approve, will make a good study. With many of these organizations, however, there continues to be reticence about openly sharing what they're doing and how well it's working. They see it as a competitive, proprietary strategy. That's a challenge, whilst we're trying to demonstrate conclusively the value of an effective social media plan.

Marc Hausman said...

@Allison and Sean - thanks for the thoughts to my blog post. Sean, I'll check out your post this weekend.

Also, just a heads up that we are currently working on a new version of Strategic's corporate Web site that will include five social media marketing case studies. We should go live just after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thistlerose said...

Excellent comments and I agree, we do need to think in terms of how people will receive, validate and use information/knowlege in a cyber structure.

Measurement of the value of data has been with us since the begining of the Industrial Revolution. And, we can tend to get caught up in its value.

Creating the mechanism to measure is critical and I applaud yours and others efforts to create suh a base.

Yet, as en economist said yesterday, if we try to measure in the short term, we are beyond the value of the data before we analyze it.

What happened to risk takers? Intuitive thinkers?

Don't we know which audiiences are most likely to use what social media formats?

Let's ask why we want to impart information and to whom...take the chance on where and go with it.

Let's re-write this story for the next generation!