Friday, June 25, 2010

Social Strategy…In a Sentence

The marketing and public relations communities have long yearned and pushed for a seat at the corporate board room citing the ability to think “strategically” about the direction of the business.

Yet, in many instances communications programs revert to what I commonly refer to as a “bag of tactics” with little consideration or regard for an overarching strategy and related measurable benchmarks.

I’ve found this tactical regression to be particularly true when it comes to the adoption of social media.

-How should we be using Twitter?
-What about our Facebook fan page?
-What are the new Web 2.0 tools?

Social media is merely another channel to engage stakeholders. It doesn’t replace traditional forms of communication (i.e. advertising, public relations, direct marketing, etc.), yet in a social environment your audience has already self-identified and organized into groups based on interest.

This makes the outcome of social media engagement significantly more measurable.

It also demands a strategy; one that is aligned with the key drivers of success in business – sales, profitability and valuation.

Here are three examples of new social media campaigns recently launched by Strategic:

1. Merchant Link’s Security Cents helps the company solidify a more credible position in the information security market, leveraging its participation at the HITEC industry conference.

2. Appian’s BetterGov is integrated with a sales and marketing initiative designed to more rapidly increase the company’s business in the federal government market.

3. The new version of British Telecom’s (BT) CSR Perspective promotes the company’s leadership in environmental sustainability, while creating a more intimate connection with executive level decision-makers.

There’s a cliché in the entertainment field that for a movie production to get funded a summary of the idea has to fit on the back of a business card.

It’s true for social media as well. Before hacking away at the tactics, develop a strategy that can be articulated in a single sentence.

1 comment:

TheWriterInMol said...

Many companies make the big mistake in thinking that marketing is an expense that can be eliminated when there is a need to cut costs. Successful companies give marketing the right place because they understand that marketing plays an important role in every aspect of a company - from its messaging, to product placement/development to customer service.

Marketing must be involved in "all points of the value chain throughout the product or service life-cycle and anywhere the consumer comes in contact with the brand."
A Harvard Business Review article by Dick Patton expands on the reasoning that marketing today has evolved beyond the traditional 4Ps and should now be summed up by ROIDs:
* Responsibility marketing, including social responsibility, green marketing, and sustainability
* Organizational leadership, requiring marketing to touch as much of the value chain as possible
* Insights about customers, based on new analytic techniques that replace yesterday's market research
* Digital marketing, requiring companies to master an amorphous bundle of fast-changing media
These are equally split between consumer driven/operating principles.

Throughout my experience in marketing, I have seen that marketing deserves a seat at the conference table.

With all the talk of steroids, Droids, and an empowered consumer/product purchaser, doesn't this make perfect sense?

Here's the link to the HBR article by Dick Patton: