my turn


Social, Traditional: Need It Be Either-Or?

We've seen a flood of expert opinion, statistics, and posts about the rise of social media and the demise of traditional media. It's now No. 1 on every CMO's list for 2010.

That's good, I suppose. However, it is important not to lose sight of business objectives when evaluating tactics and techniques. It shouldn't be an either-or choice, but should integrate both strategically. The problem is, many of us seem to have taken sides. It's us against them. Can't we all just get along ...?

Are we simply doing things for the sake of the "things" or to achieve our clients' business objectives in the most effective and efficient way? At the same time, social media are atop everyone's list. That's good. They're important. But for what reasons?

It is exciting to have new ways to connect brands and consumers. No one can argue that people are looking to engage with brands in their own way. Recent stats show that 75 million people have signed on to Twitter. If Facebook were a country, it would rank as the fourth-largest in the world. Social media are growing at unprecedented rates. We've got to find the best ways to integrate them with other tactics, not to their exclusion.



We are charged with producing results, fast. At the same time, our clients are wondering how to leverage social media, but they still want results, fast. That is why we believe that social media tactics should have actionable results that can be measured, and then integrated with other tactics consistent with the business objectives.

For example, a client in the sports marketing sector asked us to help them better engage their fan base. Our experience shows that sports fans are notorious for multitasking during the game; texting, tweeting, surfing, and commenting. More than 78% are consuming multiple media, according to Nielsen. We knew we had a connected audience and would need a number of social tools along with traditional tactics to drive viewership and engagement.

We combined a robust TV campaign with outdoor and online to get the attention of the fan base and built an open source Ning platform website to provide a place for the connected fans and friends to gather and share experiences, frustrations, and joys of the season.

Thanks to the broad reach of the campaign, it became the virtual tailgate party where like-minded fans came to connect, debate and commiserate, while building franchise loyalty. The site linked Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and almost any social network to share content and commentary, consumer generate videos, participate in promotions, and learn about the team, fans, and upcoming events. During the season, viewership spiked by 80% -- results, fast.

Another example; in the worst real estate market since the Great Depression, growing credit and financing challenges, and prices dropping as much as 45%, we needed some extraordinary tactics for a luxury real-estate client. We developed a sophisticated retargeting program that ranked leads and used a variety of coordinated communications to reintroduce people to the brand, freeing up the sales managers to focus on nurturing only the hottest prospects.

This initiative was part of an integrated marketing campaign that generated new leads through direct mail, onsite events, tweets about neighborhood happenings, Facebook fan pages, local partnerships, and resident referrals. In less than a year 60% of inventory was sold -- results, fast.

Yes, TV is down. Print is down. Click rates are declining. Open rates are in the gutter. But all still have their role in getting results, fast. Web traffic is up. YouTube visitors are up. Search is up. Blog readership is up. Link sharing is up. And each has its role in the mix. As we move across the public timeline, new tactics and techniques will continue to enter the equation. We all will be pushing for results, no matter what the medium.

1 comment about "Social, Traditional: Need It Be Either-Or? ".
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  1. Edward Mahlman from Philadelphia Newspapers, February 25, 2010 at 10:14 a.m.

    Strong insights and, I believe, correct conclusion. There's a Spectrum of Engagment among all media.

    Advertisers want to reach engaged audiences who will take action. All media have engaged audiences of different sizes and varying degrees of intensity. Social Media have high engagement but small reach...Newspapers shown to have high engagement and large reach... TV has lower engagement but large reach... etc.

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