Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Social Media's Ownership by Corporate Marketing Neophytes

I have been on the event swing during past few weeks talking up the measurable return on investment that can be achieved through a strategic, sales-aligned approach to social media marketing.

For instance, last month Strategic Communications Group (Strategic) hosted an event in partnership with market research shop Market Connections to unveil the results of a comprehensive survey of social media adoption in the public sector.  I moderated a panel discussion that featured Strategic clients from Polycom, Intelsat and Deloitte.

Like many marketers, the nearly 200 event attendees are in the process of evaluating how to best incorporate social media into their mix of tactics in 2012.

An observation I made from the podium was the youthfulness of those tasked with ownership of social media.  Granted, this perspective is influenced by my membership in the middle-aged club.

Yet, it’s clear to me that a myriad of corporate sales and marketing executives have punted social media responsibility to junior members on the team.  They are qualified because they grew up with this Facebook and Twitter thing, so the thinking goes.

Is the management of social media by corporate newbies a problem?  For some, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

Consider this comment on a Netpreneur discussion board a few weeks back:

Prospects are forever talking about having the youngest person in the office manage campaigns or worse, hiring interns. Never ceases to amaze me that companies are willing to take an important function such as developing relationships and delegate it to Jr staff.

I tend to take a more optimistic view with the belief that management of social media will allow younger professionals to more quickly establish themselves as mission-critical to the success of their organization.  In turn, this will create a new generation of marketing leaders and fast-risers who wholly support an investment of time and budget in social.

Of course, to derive benefit from this opportunity, junior marketers must gain an understanding of three important things about their organization:

1.  The overall direction of the business and benchmarks for success in sales, teaming, recruitment and financing.
2.  The budgeting process, including how resources are allocated and who influences decision-making on budget.

3.  The path to build internal consensus for a program, and then continually reinforce its value and ROI during execution.   

I recognize that Strategic’s clients are faced with a challenging job when it comes to social media.  It’s new and my firm’s methodology and approach is novel.

They need to serve as champion to secure funding, provider of strategic direction, supporter of execution and internal cheerleader to help educate about ROI.

This is do-able for younger professionals.  They just need to be razor sharp.

1 comment:

Scott Hammond, Nattergalen said...

I see this from a lot of companies. They want to turn social media over to the youngest person they can find. I think they assume that since young people are immersed in social media they will be naturals at it but being immersed as a user doesn't mean you know how to plan or carry out a campaign. I mean, when your car is broken you don't ask if anyone knows a good driver, you look for a mechanic.