Social Media – Leveling the Marketing Playing Field

One of the numerous aspects of social media that I find compelling is the way it (the movement and the technology) has brought the more forward-thinking members of the marketing industry together – agencies, brand managers, technology providers, suppliers, competitors, you name it.   Obviously, social media brings all sorts of like-minded people together, regardless of the industry.  The camaraderie you find across a number of more creative industries is fueled by social media-driven connections.  Sure, people may meet at conferences or tradeshows, but lasting connections are forged in social media.  How else are you going to stay in touch these days?

I recently came across an interesting project called The Project 100:

What is The Project 100?

100 authors.  400 words each.  1 Collaborative Book on “Project 100: Marketing in the Social Media Era.

I have been involved in modern digital marketing since its inception, but I have never seen marketers from all walks of life – from behemoths like P&G to the smallest non-profit – rally around something like they do social media.  People certainly rallied around the web back in the day, but this is a more narrow slice of the digital channel that people are seemingly dedicating their working existence to for the sake of marketing.

Marketing people and companies are carving out their niche, and in doing so, are using social media to weave vast networks of other like-minded marketers – regardless of their place in the marketing world.  The guy with the Facebook app is befriending the CMO of the beverage company.  The outspoken blogger is earning the respect of the blogging CPG Marketing Director.  All because of a mutual respect for and belief in the opportunities around social media and some mutual success.  Finally, we have an amazing set of tools for casually and painlessly maintaining these relationships.

Would the CMO typically give the Facebook app developer the time of day if they were forced to rely on phone calls, email and in-person meetings?  No way.  But we happen to have the perfect meshing of mutual interest, admiration, tools, and most importantly, the need to innovate in marketing.

If I am just being naive, just let me be.  I am just going to enjoy.

Great Viral Marketing Commentary from Jaffe

I met Joseph Jaffe once a few years back at a P&G brainstorm. As someone who had been working in the P&G digital space for a few years at that point, I found it nice to have a fresh outside perspective from someone like Joseph represented in the meeting. In his article Conversation Killers found on today, his opening paragraph does one of the best jobs of summing up the nature of ‘viral marketing planning’.   Honestly, I thought we had evolved past this to some degree.  Personally, I haven’t found myself in one of those disturbing meetings – typically with a traditional agency or too-big-for-their-own-good digital agency – trying to figure out what would go viral in a very long time.  But I can only imagine it still happens frequently…

The movie Rounders contains a life lesson: “When sitting down at the poker table, look around for the sucker. If you don’t recognize the sucker, get up and leave, because the sucker is you.” Along the same lines, the next time you sit down at a planning table to discuss something viral, look for the moron leading the project and if you don’t see him, excuse yourself from the meeting because that moron, my friend, is you.

Awesome! Don’t forget to check his blog for inevitable commentary. But I have to throw in this gem from the same article:

So let’s do our best to keep our eyes on the prize: creating unique and compelling content that is sharable and infused with sociability (conversation). We’ll rack up those views sure enough and not have to concern ourselves with cutting corners, reducing costs and duping our consumers into doing our jobs for us.

Yeah, like start a record label!

Social Media, Meet Branded Content

The meeting was in a banquet hall of Palo Alto hotel. It was billed as a meeting of the social media minds, as a few dozen social media experts and their corporate counterparts gathered together to loosely architect the future of social media. It was hard not to sense the irony. On one side, you had the pioneers of the social web – the once pure bloggers – the same bloggers that feverishly attacked any brand involvement in their formerly gated community. On the other side, representatives from big brands, each with newly minted business cards with social or community in their newly minted titles.

The day was filled with panels, break out sessions, and even the occasional clever presentation with funny consumer generated videos and Hugh McLeod drawings. Really smart people sharing words like ‘emotional connections’, ‘two-way conversation’, and ‘engaging and immersive experiences’ all in the context of how brands should leverage the social web. Traditional advertising – unfairly not represented at the meeting – was a four letter word and the butt of most jokes.

Yes, social media exploded on to the scene and the momentum remains strong. Technology is enabling people to connect in amazing ways. Blah, blah, blah. We read this everyday. We know this. We embrace and champion this. But what most of us marketing dogs seem to have forgotten or don’t want to say to the eager-to-spend clients, is that the vast majority of people, especially young people, don’t want Mr. PC Manufacturer as a friend.

Continue reading