Social Media Emergency: Digital Disconnection from Marketers

LaurentFrancois
Laurent Francois Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Posted on October 28th 2013

Social Media Emergency: Digital Disconnection from Marketers

I had a chance last week to attend a roundtable called #marketingtherapy. Arranged by Adobe, the conversation is an echo to their very relevant Digital Distress Survey.

Some impactful insights must be kept in mind: fewer than 10 percent of senior UK marketers declare to have full confidence in their own digital marketing skills [8%] or those of their teams [9%]. Moreover, over 50 percent of marketers in the UK are not testing campaigns or content, relying instead on instinct.

Digital transformation: a rhythm that does not fit with Social Media pace

One of the key issues is that transforming an enterprise into a digital business is actually a real battlefield: it's not only a technology problem or a debate on which framework needs to be used. As our panelists mentioned several times, it's also about leadership and vision.

According to Cap Gemini, most of the transformations require 2 to 5 years in order to be properly set up within big organizations. When we compare it with the short history of Social Media, it can seem a bit complicated to both invest in the right channels and also forecast the "next big thing". This really shakes marketers who seem a bit tense when it comes to picking the right areas in their future mix:

digital disconnection from marketers

Marketing: a huge pressure on results, but small capabilities to demonstrate them

According to Adobe, two thirds of marketing departments do not have a developed data analysis and insight strategy and so there is a lack of information as well as experience. That is just crazy when you think about a structural weakness of marketers:

  • financial departments are filled with figures
  • sales departments have an immediate vision of the ROI of their actions
  • marketing departments have to fight to protect their budget with soft indicators

In addition, marketers must also manage creatives who sometimes lack availability to dive into data-driven presentations. And we don't even mention egos.

Answers: bringing rationales, facts and digital interfaces

Nonetheless, some interesting habits seem to be implemented within organizations, according to the panelists:

  • generalization of A/B testing: more and more solutions tend to integrate creativity and marketing, in order to make sure that what an organization publishes online is relevant for the communities; it's a partial answer to the potential obsolescence of digital investments in specific social networks.
  • managing a single view of the cutomer in the several touchpoints of the business value chain: after all, the famous "Zero Moment Of Truth" (Google) becomes a standard; digital is no longer perceived as another channel but as THE main social interface.
  • mock-up proofs of relevant concepts: Cap Gemini mentions the rising culture of AGILE deployment within organizations. Basically, once a concept is statistically valid, it should then be spread in other departments or territories.

At the end, marketers and social media teams should become change catalysts; the need of good marketing has never been that high; but it's now about shaping a shared culture both with consumers and employees, through tangible data and transformation of these data. A brand new adventure for Social Media - maybe the beginning of an industry.

LaurentFrancois

Laurent Francois

Co-founder & exec. creative strategist, RE-UP

Laurent runs a creative & digital agency in London, RE-UP.

RE-UP develops strong social media strategies for clients like L'Oréal, Clarins, or Nestlé but also for start-ups in the tech industry. 

Laurent also teaches Digital Marketing & Strategy in diverse business schools (ESCP Europe, ECS etc.).

Laurent was the first head of 360° Digital Influence in Europe (now Social @ Ogilvy), operating for clients like Lenovo, Vodafone, Tom of Finland or French government. He then created a business unit dedicated to social media revenue in one of the main media groups in France.

Laurent blogs on fashion on Hit Bag and Le Boulevardier

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Comments

I find the results of the survey slightly disturbing, but am not that surprised. 

In some organisations 'digital' has replaced 'marketing' as a function, instead of remaining a component, albeit a main component, of the discipline. I blogged only last week about the importance of applying fundemental marketing principles to digital - http://www.philwhomes.org/?p=308

While I'm posting this ther's a 'sticky' panel at the bottom righthand side of my screen asking  'When is the best time to post on Facebook'? The answer is really simple; Test! It will not be the same for all markets. 

(On the other hand, I've also blogged about the dangers of trying to measure social media ROI - http://www.philwhomes.org/?p=269 )

Social media has been around for a good few years (we used to call it viral marketing 10 years ago) so I don't think the problem is the fact that transformations require 2 to 5 years to get bedded in to organisations. I think there are many other factors including:

1. the prevelance of frightening but untrue hype (e.g. TV advertising is dead) used by evangelists

2. the persistent use of jargon and TLAs to make digital seem more difficult than it really is (and therefore the skills of its practitioners more valuable)

3. the fear/loathing that lots sof people have for anything technical (made worse by item 2); especially when they are over 40 and so probably didn't access the web at school or university

4. the fact that digital marketing has been treated as a specialism for too long when in fact it is just a technology capable of delivering the standard marketing requirements e.g. awareness, understanding, relevance, action, loyalty etc: this means that people still tend to work in digital or in offline, when the choice should be between e.g. branding or direct response