Extending the Life of Social Media Marketing Beyond Flight Dates

Yesterday an Adweek came across my desk that I actually read, which is amazing because in full disclosure these magazines normally sit on my desk for months and eventually find their way into my trashcan. However this time an article caught my eye that had insight worth reading and sharing.sexygrandpa.JPG

The article, written by Brian Morrissey, is entitled “Flights of Fancy? How Social Media and Search are Extending the Life of Marketing Campaigns“. As you may deduce from the headline, Brian’s article raises the notion that social media doesn’t have clear start and end dates in comparison to the standard flight dates of a traditional marketing campaign, as strategies for social media move away from a short-lived “pushed message” of advertising and towards an ongoing conversation with consumers. The article also quotes John Battelle, founder of Federated Media who added that many social media campaigns have failed for this very reason – they are designed for a set period of time instead of an ongoing process that is revised and tweaked.

In reading this statement, I can’t help but feel conflicted. On one hand, I see the value of ongoing campaigns so much so that I wish we had these type of campaigns with all of our clients, and yet on the other hand I know that this isn’t likely to be a reality for quite some time. Why? Because companies and traditional marketers are faced with the following dilemmas:

1. Budget & Resources – Currently most marketers are limited to a yearly budget, which has typically never included social media. To get around this, savvy marketers are cutting corners in the budget that is usually only enough to support short-term social media efforts. Therefore, budgets for longer ongoing campaigns are rare at this point because many companies are employing short-term efforts to gain internal buy-in.

2. Short-Term Goals – With social media being included as a part of a company’s overall marketing efforts (being included in the advertising budget), it often shares the same short term goals like increasing sales or awareness of a product rather than longer (and potentially more valuable) goals like creating valuable, on-going conversations with consumers. Therefore, if a social media effort is based on short-term goals, this makes it harder for marketers to extend this effort beyond the original flight dates.

3. Internal Structures- Typically ongoing social media efforts like Dell IdeaStorm and the latest My Starbuck’s Idea bridge into aspects of customer service, product development, overall business structure/philosophy, AND marketing. Because of this, most marketer’s don’t have the authority or internal buy-in in their company to develop a social media campaign that can intersect in these areas. Therefore, most social media efforts at this point are limited to efforts within the marketing department.

So, what will it take for marketers to advance past these hurdles and begin ongoing efforts? I personally think that it will take social media training and education, thought-leading companies to forge the way, and the company itself to begin experimentation in this space. While some may determine these experiments as short-term social media campaigns that have fallen short, I tend to view these campaigns as baby steps into larger efforts down the road. At least, that is what we are hoping here at Ignite 🙂

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