Friday, November 6, 2009

Speed to Outcome

I dig bloggers like B.L. Ochman who never shy from shaking things up.

This week Ochman penned an article for Advertising Age magazine entitled “Ten Things Social Media Can’t Do.” She takes aim at the social media consultants who knowingly set unrealistic expectations with clients that are still groping their way through this new Web 2.0 terrain.

Ochman writes, “Amid the endless pronouncements about social media…is the reality that it is not a solution, or a sure bet.”

Few corporate initiatives are a sure bet. Consider that nearly 70 percent of all technology projects are ultimately deemed to be failures. The star culprit? It is the organization’s own poor planning and requirements analysis, meaning projects are doomed right from the start.

The same potentially holds true for social media programs. As such, it’s paramount that consultants work in lock step with a client prior to the engagement to define achievable benchmarks and the necessary roles each party must play.

Ochman identifies a number of absolute criteria for social media success:

-Top management buy-in
-A well articulated marketing strategy
-A realistic budget
-Integration with public relations and other marketing programs

While Ochman is spot on about these requirements, our thinking does diverge regarding the time necessary to measure results.

She contends: “[Social media] is a long-term commitment to openness, experimentation and change that requires time to bear fruit.”

Fair enough, yet that flowery thinking will not convince a corporate executive to OK funding.

What they most likely hear from the consultant is: “I want you to give me resources for a new and somewhat unproven means of communication in which the results will most likely not be apparent until some undetermined time in the future.”

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we have proven that social media marketing can achieve measurable return in as little as 90 days. It’s why we often use a pilot program methodology to engage with a new client.

Yes…I want each of our clients to make a long-term commitment to social media. However, I’m also clear on the realities of corporate funding and the need to produce results fast.

My takeaway from Ochman’s article? Be real with a prospective client when formulating requirements and needs for a social media program. Yet also recognize that a positive outcome must come quickly.


B.L. Ochman said...

happy i inspired you to blog a sales pitch for your company.
thanks for the shout out, i guess.

too bad you left out the next sentence in that point:
"One of the complaints about social media is that it can't be measured. But in fact there are many things that can be measured: including engagement, sentiment, and whether increased traffic leads to sales. "

Tajiana said...

Great post. The same goes for those social/new media consultants who claim the "press release is dead!" Rather, spamming journalists and writing with too many fluff words is dead. Social media is not a one-size-fits all movement and it takes the right full-scale strategy to achieve a company's goals.