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Scott Monty Is Leaving Ford: Is It a Trend?

scott monty while he was at fordWhile I was not stunned to learn that Scott Monty is leaving Ford, I was more taken aback by Shel Israel’s view, which he’s been talking about on Facebook, that Monty’s departure is part of a larger trend, a trend of social media innovators and rock stars leaving large companies. I caught up with Shel at the current Cisco Live event, and his view mirrored Monty’s as expressed in an AdWeek interview yesterday: this means that marketing is taking over social.

What you need to read in the interview is what Monty said about where social is now: “I think it's at a critical juncture right now. With all the commentary that's been going on about Facebook and the loss of organic reach, obviously, how the paid component to social evolves is critical. Outside of Ford and looking at the industry overall, it saddens me how social has been co-opted by marketing to become just another mass advertising/marketing channel. I think the promise of social is about relationship development, and I have always said that. “

I’ve not spoken directly to Monty yet, but I thought I would catch up with his fellow rock-star, Frank Eliason, on this topic and ask him to confirm or deny the trend. Here’s what Eliason had to say:

frank eliason“Social is at different stages at different companies. For some, it’s a new sexy thing. But people are trying to apply traditional approaches to new media, but it doesn’t work that way... Look at it from a user experience perspective. Most people who are not in marketing really don’t understand social.“

Eliason points out that the algorithmic changes at Facebook brings companies back to traditional media buys on what used to called social media. Eliason says that “there is a reason why the algorithm changed and it had to do with bad content. Having said that, I believe that by December Facebook for business will be out of vogue.”

To Monty and Eliason, social is more of a mindset. It’s one of social’s major aspects is that it’s about relationships and the goal of wanting to get people to talk about one's brand in a natural way.

“For brands who succeed, it’s more about a mindset, less about a media buy," says Eliason.

Is it a trend?  Eliason says, “By the end of this year, it will be surprising to see people with social media in their job titles. There’s a much bigger thing going on. It’s no longer about mass marketing, it’s going to be about micro-marketing.”

Have marketers, as Monty claims, won? “Marketers may have won but they won’t be seeing the returns they’re expecting. We’ll see a rising up of content marketing. But that’s a bubble, too. What brands should be doing is concentrating on good content that will be a feeder for advertising. And the better companies will see this longer-term vision and be working toward that. Social people shouldn’t be worried that they won’t have a job, but they should be looking to see what the future is.”

Join The Conversation

  • Robin Carey's picture
    May 27 Posted 2 years ago Robin Carey

    Good comment, and I agree with you, Rick. It does seem that a few of the corporate social media champions are jumping ship for the vendor side... which to me is also an admission that social is seen as an external expertise, one that can be purchased on an as-needed basis and one in which the assumption is that in order to remain innovative, company marketers need to outsource that expertise.


  • May 27 Posted 2 years ago KevinHorne

    Someone's gotta pay for it, kids. If not Marketing, then who? (HR - no, Corp Comms - no, Customer Care - no, etc., etc.)

    And P.S.  social media "gurus" have only themselves to blame - two of every three articles on here link marketing to social (you can just start with the 5000 content marketing articles posted on here in 2014 so far...)

  • FrankEliason's picture
    May 25 Posted 3 years ago FrankEliason


    We can certainly check back then. Actually I provided a lot more detail on this SMT post. I certainly believe Facebook will thrive although business pages I will bet will be out of vogue. I do think the data will get more and more important. I also expect eventually Facebook will take the ads off the site and move them to their ad network. Here is the post

    See you in December!


  • May 22 Posted 3 years ago khittel

    Lots here that I find difficult to disagree  with. Heck, I can rag on marketers as righteously as anyone. But there will, I think, always be some good marketers and, for the foreseeable future, Facebook will be continue to be useful for them. Not sure how to judge/verify the accuracy of Frank's (rather ludicrous) prediction -- "I believe that by December Facebook for business will be out of vogue" -- but I'll take that bet anyday. (Unless Frank holds that he never specified December of which year...)

    This whole damnation of marketing in general and marketing on Facebook in particular -- seemingly because bad Facebook is making it so much harder to garner "organic" likes and fans w/ contests, discounts, and pushy product posts -- has become a new meme that we can't not notice, and that will continue to inspire plenty more stories, and outrageous predictions, like the above. Maybe I'm just whistling past the graveyard, who knows?, but let's all check back here in December (of 2014)...

  • May 21 Posted 3 years ago RyanStephens

    What big brands have is dollars. And what VPs of marketing at big brands want is results, virtually right away. Because they have to present quarterly reports that demonstrate those results to their leadership. What these big brands don't have is patience -- which is what's required for social to be about genuine relationships, retention, et al.

    I suspect that at some point the big brands sinking lots of dollars into social as a mass advertising channel will start to see diminishing returns. And that's when the companies that had the patience do it right will reap the rewards. The problem is there's not enough of those yet because it's awfully tough for a digital marketing manager to push back all the way up the chain of people telling her, "Hey, we gotta be on Facebook now. Here's your budget. I need an effectiveness report showing X new leads next week."

  • Robin Carey's picture
    May 21 Posted 3 years ago Robin Carey

    Jay, Rick and Ed, great comments.

    I just left this comment on Frank's Facebook post as well:

    "I think what we're seeing is the trajectory of a classic revolution. The guys who jumped into social early, like Scott, did so because of a combination of vision and chutzpah. They are like the early practitioners of capitalism in Russia in the early nineties. Once the old guard got back in (Putin), he sent them to Siberia, or they decamped to London. But it didn't mean that things weren't fundamentally changed after their departure. (London is also a pretty great place to be.) And I think my analogy only goes so far since it's not perfect and we haven't seen the end of the cycle in Russia; it's still being played out in "real-time." Just as the social one is."

  • Ed Nicholson's picture
    May 21 Posted 3 years ago Ed Nicholson

    Obviously many of the social media channels—most notably Facebook—have evolved to adapt to (and cater to)  the mindset and skillsets of those who approach stakeholder communications from a purely paid media perspective.     However, I don’t see this as a death knell to brand use of social channels  for building better relationships, trust and deeper customer loyalty. 

    There will be marketers who will have a narrow focus of buying their way into peoples’ minds.  But brands will always have to earn their way into peoples’ hearts.  I would hope there will continue to be social media channels that make that possible.

  • May 21 Posted 3 years ago rickmurray


    LOL (sort if)

    The upside is that IF marketers have "won" as some are saying, the shine will quickly wear off as they search for the next, newest shiny thing.

    Social media in marketing is like day trading on the market. Looking for the quick hits vs the long haul. A few may actually hit it big, for a moment. The winners over the long haul however, will be brands and organizations that earn the right to be part of someone's community because they share the values of that community, contribute to that community, welcome contributions and criticisms from that community, and live the values of that community on a daily basis.  


  • JDeragon's picture
    May 21 Posted 3 years ago JDeragon

    Most corporations have one thing in mind...profits. The masses don't know what is or isn't social so meaningless marketing will continue to be dominant.  The Cluetrain Manifesto spoke of the cluelessness of marketing and all social has done is accelerate the old noise with a new wrapper.

    Change takes time and just maybe we are a generation or two away from the total transformation of how markets operate because the many have spoken.

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