Picking Up the Social Pieces

Think you know what integrated marketing is? Think again. While 2009 was a year of chaos, 2010 will be a year of consolidation, according to a new white paper from Media Logic. "There is no question that the old model of marketing, dependent upon an isolated and passive consumer, is dead, never to return," says Ronald Ladouceur, Media Logic's first senior vice president and executive creative director.

Marketers are scrambling to compensate for the chaos caused by the fracturing of media, and the failure of traditional channels to deliver reliable ROI. But the apparent randomness and even stunt-like quality of many marketing efforts suggest a major disconnect. Many still see popular social media and search services simply as new "channels" to interrupt with ads.

Thanks to technologies that allow for massive social networking, the passive consumer has become active and is not so easily manipulated. He or she now plays as strong, or stronger, a role than the marketer in determining what a brand signifies, what it is worth, where it can be found, whether it should be trialed, and if and when it should be purchased.

Every online action taken, or comment offered by the active consumer, not only expands the total information available, it pushes back - actually altering products, services, markets and ways of doing business.

The implications of this are only beginning to dawn on brand managers and the agencies that serve them, according to Media Logic. "Conversation is king" and "Feedback is frictionless" don't give much guidance to anyone struggling to figure out how best to allocate marketing dollars, build a brand and promote products in a world of infinite information and instant opinion.

Media Logic's "Conversation-Centric Marketing" model embraces massive social networking and dictates major changes in how brands communicate with their prospects and customers, how they communicate with their agency partners, and how they interact internally.

Marketer-constructed brand and product messaging remains the dominant influence on the conversation, Ladouceur says. "Product positioning and key messages do not passively emerge from the conversation," he says. "They must be consciously seeded."

The CCM model clarifies the primary purpose of each media type: paid, earned and owned. The significant drivers of CCM are social media, and ever more portable and powerful personal communications technologies.

As social media is more routinely deployed as a component of integrated marketing strategies, the real-time demands of the media will inevitably force an increase in real-time client/agency/customer interaction. "There is great opportunity here for the development of a more productive relationship between brand managers and the agencies that serve them," Ladouceur says.

1 comment about "Picking Up the Social Pieces".
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  1. Michael Hubbard from Media Two Interactive, March 4, 2010 at 12:39 p.m.

    Good article Tonya - I just commented on Sheila's blog post ( where she quoted you and this article, but it's worth saying again. Brands have accepted interactive & digital as part of their marketing mix, but they're still on the fence as to how to let them steer. The consumer is interacting in real time like you say - so the sooner they embrace digital strategies leading their traditional media, the faster their ROI will align.

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