Last week I spent 2 days in the company of close to 200 people in Auckland, attending Social Media Junction #2. I reflected during the closing sessions on the transformational impact that the web has had on business in the past decade; and marveled, as I am sure many of my fellow attendees did, as to what the business world might look like 5 or 10 years from now.
It is often said that things seemed so much simpler back in the 80’s or even the 90’s. In the case of marketing, I would have to say that view would be correct, especially as I grew up in brand marketing in those decades.
In those days the complexity of marketing revolved around the options of what was, by today’s standards, a limited range of media – TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, outdoor and cinema. All provided a stimulation (visual or audible) which was as we now call it “interruption marketing” although at the time we called it “cut through advertising”. The task was to allocate and prioritise the budget and ensure that the timetable for such advertising was scheduled well enough in advance. All done; we would then wait and watch to see the consequential impact on product sales or market research stats some months down the track.
Today we inhabit a vastly different world as has been ably demonstrated by this conference. We fully appreciate that the impact of “traditional media” has been blunted and today’s reality is that it simply does not deliver as it used to – added to which consumers can and do “tune out”.
To be effective in today’s world of marketing, requires so much more of a hands-on approach. You have to engage with your customers, you have to be social (as opposed to “doing” social) and you have to listen – all of which cannot be a part of interruption marketing. Added to this opportunity to better engage with your customers, is the challenge of a myriad of channels to utilise and the fact that largely most of what needs to be done, needs to be done by you! – the role of advertising and marketing agencies has similarly changed as marketeers can and need to engage more directly with customers.
That is why these style of conferences are so much more important. Marketers today need to not only learn the tools, they importantly need to share and discuss experiences and tactics with their peers. Such conferences are not about sales pitches for products and services; but critically are about good honest ideas and guides of what to do in a variety of situations; situations that those who present have actually experienced and learned from.
The great thing is that this new social media marketing transformation is not a winner-takes-all scenario, as a marketer you can learn and share good ideas with colleagues, you can be more open – even with competitors as in this world driven by social media there is not a single successful strategy that beats all others, there is just good execution of many strategies. You have to be prepared to fail fast, pick yourself up and try something else.
I could not possibly do justice to the full range of content from the conference, so I would recommend that you read the summary of the event from Alex Erasmus on the StopPress blog and keep an eye open for a future Social Media Junction conference next year.