The Secret Marketer on how marketing has turned into social media


The Easter bank holiday has put a much-needed spring in my step and I am very much looking forward to more of the same this weekend courtesy of Wills and Kate.

Before the bank holiday, I managed to catch up on a backlog of industry reading. It appears that marketing has been rebranded as social media and that there is little else to talk about these days.

My fears were compounded recently when I interviewed potential new brand managers. All they talked about was social media. In many ways I am delighted the trade press and future industry talent is tuned into this topic because it means I have to spend a little less time reinventing myself.

The new wave industry thinking is that the most important thing for a brand these days is to have a deep engaging relationship with the consumer. Although this has always been the case, today’s definition of having a relationship is a Facebook page, non-stop tweeting and endless engagement. Like any relationship, it is about giving and receiving and we only get back what we put in.

It appears that marketing has been rebranded as social media

Is it just me who is too busy and most certainly isn’t looking for a deep and meaningful relationship with every product, brand and service I come across? Most of the time I’d just like those brands and services to deliver what they say on the tin. I pay the money, they deliver their promise.

I don’t need a birthday card or newsletter and I certainly don’t want to make friends with them. In fact, the more chatty these brands become, the more likely I am to rebel and buy a silent competitor.

Before anybody writes in to complain (I haven’t set up a Secret Marketer Facebook or Twitter account for this very reason), I am excited by how social media is transforming our world, but I sometimes despair as to how our industry fails to set things in context.

I asked one of the candidates I was interviewing how they would turn around a struggling brand in our portfolio. I provided a killer clue by letting slip that research had demonstrated that product quality had completely lost pace with the market. His answer was that we should move the marketing budget from TV and print and reinvest it in social media. I directed him to LinkedIn to do some more job networking.

Enjoy the bonus weekend. Instead of spending it all on Facebook, join in with your local street party that’s proper social networking.

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