Friday, April 2, 2010

Weave It and Believe It

We created the picture above to demonstrate to prospective clients how social media is not just about one specific channel or discipline, but rather, the weaving together of them all.

It’s about advertising, PR, relationship marketing, customer service, and promotion. I’m sure it’s also about a few other things I can’t think of at this moment.

As I was putting the slide into yet another presentation, I got to thinking:

Even as we’re all struggling to learn about social media, it’s teaching us about the various disciplines we may never have paid much attention to in our own little silos.

I was a creative. My world was limited to striving to do the best creative work possible. To devouring the award show books. To creating great ads and commercials that would get into those books.

Now I find myself discussing – even almost understanding – analytics. Yet back in my general advertising days, the only data I wanted to hear was if enough people were watching my commercial to keep it on the air.

Likewise, I’m now keenly aware of the importance of crisis management, although not long ago, PR was about as mysterious to me as America’s fascination with reality television.

You could say the study of social media has made me a student of marketing in general. It’s helped me to think more holistically about how to reach and engage people.

It’s made me realize that creativity is about more than just clever headlines and eye-grabbing visuals.

It’s about using technology and smarts to listen and learn from consumers. To strategically engage them in a dialogue in which they actually want to take part. And ultimately, to provide them with the valuable information, support and guidance they seek.

What’s more, very few businesses today have a budget large enough to support four or more agencies on their roster. One agency that embraces the best of all of these disciplines provides much more bang for the buck.

It’s been a long journey getting to this broader view.

I just had to learn how to knit.


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  1. Mark, your illustration of social media is perfect, and your words back it up quite well. Social media and social networking are in a constantly growing and upward flux, changing almost daily, yet are actually no more than an extension of the local bazaar of centuries ago. As we see these changes taking place around us, I'm constantly reminded of this quote:

    The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
    Alvin Toffler, in Rethinking the Future


  2. I really like the perspective. These days, not only does the entire organisation's efforts need to have a marketing edge, but the people need to understand how their skillsets can impact the overall effect.
    Never before has integrated marketing posed as much potential for competitive advantage. Apparently social media is also marketing glue...

  3. Great concept - but you've also got to learn what yarn to use when knitting. It's important that the finished product look, feel, and wear great.

    Otherwise it's just another of granma's sweaters in the back of the closet...

  4. As someone who knits for a living and is a student of social media, I enjoyed your article very much. In another life, I worked for a public relations agency, and I have to say, this new way is much better. It is more authentic.

  5. I'm curious why you would lump advertising into social media. Most advertising happens offline, and the online part of it exists mostly independent of any really social media (e.g., banner ads, AdWords campaigns, yahoo/bing, content networks, etc).

    Advertising really only crosses the floor to social media when you're placing ads on social networking sites & tools, which is becoming viewed by advertisers as much as an intrusion into an online conversation as anything; they're skeptical of it and not seeing the results they had hoped for.

    That's why I'd be very hesitant to put advertising into the social media weave, except as a small, niche component.

  6. Mark, great post, and, as always, very well-written. You could also depict social media as part of the yellow spool of yarn and the piece that is being knit is the brand. -Robin