There is a whole brave new world for social marketing which is unfolding and which, so far, has caught many businesses off-guard.
A good part of the reason for this is because many corporate marketing departments are managed by people who cut their teeth when TV, radio and print were the main ways to reach audiences.
Sam Flemming, who is the founder of Shanghai-based CIC, a market research and consulting firm which covers brand buzz in China, has posted an article on how online trends will affect how agencies will think and work.
Based on my experience working in traditional media and then online in China, I think that online users are about 2-3 years ahead of online users in the US. This is because the Internet developed without the help of advertising income in its early stages, unlike in the US where advertising was a very established model. For this reason, it is much easier for Chinese consumers and advertisers to adapt. In China, there is much stronger tie-in between offline events and online promotions, instead of just relying on online advertising as in the US.
US corporations and advertisers have to “unlearn” much of what they have thought would work in the new online space.
One of the big questions is that agency account people will have to learn to become advocates for their brands and products both offline and online. Where does the agency and customer advocate line end and begin? It’s easy to see that in the very near future the best agency account people will be those who are the most passionate and eloquent advocates for a product, and can exercise good judgment quickly. Those who succeed will be the ones who can go from strategy to tactics very quickly, while keeping the client clear about overall goals and weaving through the intricacies of the online conversation.
One book which is going on my “to read” list is Jump Point, which talks about how marketing to the interconnected online crowd is going to work.