Now that I'm getting more involved in the social media space (and not just from an informed user's perspective), I've found a couple of really interesting articles on this topic on the web.
Marketers Don't Have a Good Handle on Social Media
The first is one by Michael Bush in Advertising Age in which he reports on a panel discussion on "Making Social Media & Marketing Work" at the Ad Age Digital Marketing Conference.
The article's title summarizes it very nicely: Marketers Struggle to Get a Firm Grip on Social Media and it makes a good read:
If you just happen to be one of those people who think they have social media and marketing all figured out, don't tell Eric Plaskonos. He believes they're "fooling themselves."
Ad Age also has a primer on the challenges of social media for marketers.
Australian Marketers Lag Further Behind
The second one is by Jenni Beattie in Digital Ministry called Ad:Tech - Brand Marketers Still Looking for Digital Marketing Solutions [via Trevor Cook, via Lee Hopkins].
Let's start with a few figures from the recent Ad Tech Conference in Sydney:
- 68% of delegates in the Digital PR session said they didn't have a digital pr strategy
- 59% of delegates in the Conversations session said they didn't have a dialogue with their brand customers.
It is clear from this that many brand marketers in Australia are still yet to dip their toes in the water of online engagement/social media and that they are looking to the industry for leadership.
This is both good and bad news. Bad that there's a lack of awareness for digital PR and for online engagement with customers in Australia. But also good in the sense that there's a huge opportunity here for a good social media marketer (PR person, brand manager, community manager, etc.).
In that respect, I disagree with Steve Rubel when he says that "hiring someone just to "manage" social media is a luxury that companies will integrate into broader marketing communication roles." In Australia, at least, we don't seem to have reached that stage yet (and Jeremiah Owyang seems to think that this is true in the broader global context as well).
I suspect that Rubel is a little ahead of the curve on this one. Yes, eventually social media interaction will become a standard operating procedure for marketers and, in general, for companies -- much like e-mail has, for example -- but we still have a long way to go. And judging from Beattie's article, that's particularly true for Australia.