Strategies In The 2010 Social Media Marketing Ecosystem

A few days ago I blogged my thoughts on the shape of the social media marketing ecosystem as we enter 2010. The key aspects of the system from my perspective were:

  • The lines have truly blurred. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to draw a line between different forms of communications, especially when considering the online space.
  • Successful communications programs need to integrate owned, earned and paid media to achieve their goals.
  • Two-way communication is increasing. Wherever you look, previously one-way information flows are becoming two-way. Mainstream media feed off social media while also driving it. Advertising drives attention but also content strategies.

Social Media Marketing EcosystemThe line between public relations, advertising or social media is artificial – the overlap between the disciplines is becoming greater and greater. While I doubt the disciplines will ever completely merge, the ‘Venn diagram’ of communications disciplines is moving closer to being a single circle at a rapid pace.

When we talk about integration and lines blurring, it’s easy to head down the thought path that you need to excel at everything. I’d argue it’s not that simple.

Public relations agencies (for example) don’t need to shift to pitch pure-play advertising accounts. However, agencies of all disciplines do need to hire or train people who can think media-agnostically when developing communications strategies. I’d argue they also need to be able to execute the integrated tactics that sit in the grey areas between disciplines. PR firms won’t suddenly start producing TV ads, but they may start to roll online advertising campaigns into their service portfolio.

As always, it comes back to:

  • What are the objectives?
  • Who are the key audiences?
  • What are the key considerations?
  • How do we best reach those audiences to accomplish the objectives, and how do we measure against that?

Is this new thinking? No. Is the urgency for a shift to integration increasing? Yes. It’s a long road to travel to build those skills-sets, but the need is pressing.

Instead of differentiating by marketing vertical, we may need to approach our strategy from a different perspective – whether we’re marketing our clients or our own agencies. To fail to do so raises the risk of fragmented, ineffective communications and sub-par results.

The question is, what form do those strategies take?


This is a re-post of my first post for the Marketing Profs Daily Fix, where I will now be writing occasionally. To check out the original and, down the road, my other posts there, check out mpdailyfix.com.