Here's What I Believe (About Marketing And Social Media)

I’ve seen a number of posts lately perpetuating a “here’s what I believe” (usually about social media) meme, and I couldn’t help but weigh in with my own post.

Here’s what I believe…

…that just because a company doesn’t adopt social media with the speed and force that you think it should (often based on no rationale or business logic), that doesn’t make that company a dinosaur or a laggard, nor does it mean it will be “left behind” or “disappear.”

…that “conversation” is the most overused word in marketing. Just because someone (who is often just starved for attention) mentions a brand in a tweet (often to complain about the brand) that doesn’t mean that person is looking for, or starting a conversation.

…that marketers who think that brands have “conversations” but say that companies aren’t “people” are hypocrites. You can’t have it both ways.

…that there is no such thing as a social media strategy. There is only business strategy, and an allocation of resources (possibly to social media channels and tactics) to support that strategy. So, if you’re in the business of helping companies with their social media “strategy,” you’re hosed.

…that Steve Knox — who said “victory in marketing doesn’t happen when you sell something, but when you cultivate advocates for your brand” — is wrong. Any day of the week I’ll take someone who buys my product/service and doesn’t talk about it over someone who talks about it but doesn’t buy it. Any-day-of-the-freaking-week.

…that I have no idea what Mack Collier is saying when he writes “Marketing is a tax that brands pay for not speaking in the voice of their customers.” Huh? I’d hate to be a marketing major in college these days, paying $40k a year, to find out that the business discipline I’m studying is a tax that brands pay for…oh, forget it, I don’t even understand what the rest of the quote is referring to.

…that Twitter is an absolutely horrible advertising platform. One well-known blogger recently called Twitter “a stronger platform for advertisers than Facebook will ever be.” Nonsense. First of all, we don’t want to read. It’s too much effort. TV and radio ads — and increasingly online ads — are verbal. Print ads are predominantly visual. Sure, there are many good text-intensive print ads, but those are typically for certain types of products. Second, there is no accountability on Twitter. The likelihood that someone will see your tweet is actually pretty small. But you’ll never know.

…that Twitter does not make you a better writer. The same blogger referenced in the previous point also said  “140 character Tweets make you a better communicator and a better writer.” More nonsense. Writing/editing/writing/editing/reading/getting feedback/writing/editing — and repeating the process over and over and over — makes you a better writer.

…that people should think more critically before regurgitating pablum. Like when Mack (sorry to pick on Mack) says “new customers cost 6-7 times more to acquire versus retaining an existing customer.”  Why do people continue to cite this bullshit? Here are some facts: Acquisition and retention costs vary by industry, ebb and flow with economic cycles, and are — for the most part — incalculable in the first place. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

There are probably more things that I believe, but there’s only so much I can try to cram down your throats in a single blog post.

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