There continues to be lots of debate about social media and the role it should take within the marketing mix. It’s something I have spent many hours agonizing over, not least because I continue to wrestle with the role our agency should be playing in this space. At this time I’m still convinced this is primarily a client side component to the marketing mix and that the focus in tech marketing departments should be focused internally on resources before reaching out to the all too willing grabbing hands of the agency world!
Several recent conversations certainly seem to be confirming that this is the key direction in which clients need to be moving. These come from very respectable sources and combine to confirm where we are right now – aligned with thinking within some of the biggest brands:
Firstly at the recent panel discussion at the IDG Tech Marketing Dinner in SF (where I was thrilled to invited to join Pat McGoverns top table!) Rich Vancil of IDC declared that social media is not yet a fully fledged function of marketing – link here for more details of his excellent opinions. Thinking this was a controversial statement to kick things off I was pleasantly amazed to see the entire panel agree. Of particular interest were the panelists from Cisco, and Avaya, Paul Dunay - both clearly experts in the space and advocates for internalized solutions.
Secondly through a conversation at EMC World with John Conway, who manages the EMC social website strategy, I was delighted to hear him also say that the key issue with corporations is the need for them to be able trust the employees to actively represent the company. This is so true. Clearly advice must be given to employees about appropriate activity – particularly in such a very public environment – but at the end of the day we all have to trust our employees to positively and truthfully talk about the company they work for.
Finally this story that appeared in Advertising Age which not only brought a smile to my face but I think offers a little insight into how this is handled by many of my competitors right now….
For more good information from peers I recommend the following link at B2B magazine where you can find some video content from a variety of vendor CMO’s.