Hey… I didn’t say I AGREE… I’m just recognizing that there are sound business reasons as to why some companies feel that social marketing isn’t their cup of tea. To get the other side’s point of view, read on…
Sitting here with a 40 terabyte direct cranial link to people who agree with me, it’s easy to forget that lot’s of people out there still have good reasons for deciding NOT to take advantage of all that social media has to offer, at either the personal or professional level.
In deference to them, and in the spirit of trying to round out my own perspective, I offer you the Top 5 Perfectly Legitimate Reasons Smart People Don’t Take Advantage of Social Marketing:
1. It doesn’t make sense for our business.
If your business is intensely regulated, your primary target is either C-level executives or migrant workers, or exclusivity is a critical dimension of your brand persona, then social marketing is not for you.
That’s right, I said it. Feel better already.
2. It’s “hard to measure,” meaning there’s no proof it works.
Harsh, but fair. Oh sure, there are anecdotes, but how come everybody uses the same ones? “Blah blah blah Comcast / Zappo’s / JetBlue / Whole Foods / MOTRIN train wreck blah blah blah.”
Advocates might counter that the effects of all marketing are hard to measure, and that while the metrics in traditional media are more specific, they could be less accurate. A savvy detractor might respond that, while interesting, that presents no compelling logic to alter the status quo.
And she’d be right.
3. It lacks the reach to move the needle on numbers we care about.
Let’s say you’re Wal-Mart. What percent of active Twitter users would need to run out to your stores tomorrow to deliver a sales bump you could feel, and is there any way to make that happen in the foreseeable future?
The answer is 2,000,000 %, and no. That makes it a nice-to-have for them, not a must-have.
4. It’s labor intensive, and excess capacity is hard to come by these days.
Now imagine you’re the VP of Marketing at WhateverCo. To use nearly every other marketing communications channel, you write a check. To use social media, you read the summary sentiment reports, join a service, hang around for a while, find stuff to say, create content worthy of traffic, reply to other people’s blogs, read the new summary sentiment report, restructure your Web presence around dialogue, think of something to blog about, write your blog post, find a stock image for the post… C’mon, man. I have a day job.
In the immortal-if-profane words of recent convert Chris Colbert, “Social media is a pain in the ass.” And to outsource that pain in the ass takes headcount, which (in case you live in a cave) is one of the many things marketing departments are living without these days.
5. Brand development requires consistency of voice, not cacophony of “participation.”
Almost verbatim: “Look, I get paid to manage our brand. And having finally gotten the horn, string, and woodwind sections to play the same tune, you want me to hand over the microphone to amateur hour? I don’t think so.”
Man’s got a point.
Social marketing isn’t for everyone. Getting in now is making an investment in a capability some people believe will be valuable in the future. I’m one of them, despite knowing it’s not a mass medium quite yet, and recognizing that the tools to use it haven’t matured to the point where the medium is easy to leverage or control.
That’s how many marketers see it, fellow true believers – at least for now. We won’t advance our cause by ignoring them.