The State of Social Marketing

by Contributor on Monday, March 19, 2012 in Social Media

At last week’s South by Southwest Interactive festival in Austin Texas, I participated in a panel discussion on The State of Social Marketing.  The session was moderated by The Next Web editor Brad McCarty, and included Becky Brown of Intel and Tyler Willis of Unified.

The session promised to consist of 10-minute rapid-fire discussions of the three most important changes happening in social marketing. To keep the discussion fresh, we had one prep call in which McCarty told the panelists his three predictions: Local Reach / Global Impact; Hyper Personalization; Marketing to Tomorrow’s Customer.

Rather than summarize my own panel, I thought I’d instead share my prep notes. This is exactly how I prepare for every session. I create one page of notes and I try to create a Twitter friendly “pull quote” for each answer. I emphasize the pull quote in my notes to make sure I remember to pause (signaling to the audience that it’s “time to tweet that”) after delivering the line.

Below are my unedited notes highlighting social media marketing trends. I’d love to hear what you consider the future of social marketing.

What is the state of social media marketing?


-       State of social is that we’re looking through the wrong end of the telescope – obsessed with the tools not content or business objective


Trend One: Marketing for Local Reach / Global Impact



    1. I am going to conflate “local” and “geo” a bit. But I haven’t seen the “killer app” for geo for B2B. Getting more engagement at events, sure. That’s nice. But it’s not exactly disruptive in the way it is in retail.

    2. From a B2B standpoint, if Highlight were to use LinkedIn’s API instead of or in addition to Facebook’s, then that’s potentially a very interesting tool for B2B companies. From a professional standpoint, I am much less interested in knowing that my college room mate’s best friend is nearby than I am in a hot prospect.



Trend Two: Hyper-personalization



    1. Collecting massive amounts of information on buyers isn’t new. Getting them to volunteer it, that’s what’s new. But for years marketers have been able to cobble behavioral information together into a “buyer persona”. Disney has thousands of distinct personas that they market to.

    2. I think the holy grail here is to reach the stage of a persona of one. But in some ways I think small business have been sold a bill of goods here. They are told that this is the great disruption – the ability to know exactly who your customers are, and build real relationships with them. And while that’s true to an extent. But to be able to scale happenstance is going to require some beefy technology. And that’s where big companies will again have an advantage.



Trend Three: Marketing now for tomorrow’s buyer



    1. Easily half of the speaking engagements I do are at colleges / business schools because I want next generation of marketers to “grow up with” a familiarity with Eloqua and a bias towards us.

    2. Corollary: It’s not just the next generation of buyers, but also the influencers of buyers. This isn’t necessarily “influence” in the Klout score way, but the person who (literally and figuratively) sits next to our buyer. Everyone is a potential advocate or detractor of a deal.



Question to Panel: What do you see as a major shift?



    1. Next shift is from where your brand is to what content your brand is spreading.

    2. I honestly feel if you solve for content you will largely solve for social. I place the lion’s share of my attention on the content we produce, versus where it’s distributed.



Additonal pull quotes to incorporate into discussion/audience questions:


-       My challenge is managing the “cost of distraction.” Each time a new network becomes dubbed the hot new thing, the temptation is to jump on board, but sometimes there’s no shame in letting others learn for you.


-       If you are constantly chasing the next tool, you are going to spend your life on an elliptical machine.


-       Content & social lean on each other like  house. If one is weak, the other falls.

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