When fishbowls duel, does anyone win?

More and more, I am noticing terms like 'social media experts' and 'the social media crowd' being thrown around. These blanket statements are usually claiming that this so-called group is about to get their comeuppance, and will soon find out how little they really know.

Then again, I've seen plenty of references to how traditional marketers are nothing but 'dinosaurs' or 'luddites' that 'just don't get' social media, and 'don't know how to reach today's consumer'.

And more often than not, these two groups are lobbing these blanket statements/labels at each other.

It seems as if some people believe there are two groups making these claims:

1 - Social media evangelists. This group is passionate about social media. Some would offer that their passion outstrips common sense. Others would imply that they know nothing about 'real business', and are nothing more than snakeoil salesmen.

2 - Traditional marketers. This group has a solid background in traditional marketing and business. Some would offer that they made their careers in the 80s and 90s, and their thinking hasn't progressed from that point. Others would imply that they decry the hype over social media simply because they don't understand it or how businesses can use these tools.


Of course, both stereotypes are quite silly, very harmful, and in most cases dead wrong. But the problem is that I am seeing more and more people talking about how someone else 'doesn't get it'. One minute it will be someone with 30 years experience as a marketer claiming that 'social media experts' don't get it, the next minute it will be someone identified as a leader in the social media space, claiming that traditional marketers downplay social media because they 'don't get it'.

To everyone, I have one plea; Can we please stop the insanity?

Just because someone has 30 years experience as a marketing/brand manager for P&G doesn't mean that they can't also be social media experts. Just because someone else is a 30-year old social media evangelist doesn't mean that they don't understand how to create a social media initiative that meshes with a larger communications strategy.

Traditional marketing is NOT about to die, just like social media experts aren't about to 'get their's'. But this space as a whole isn't going to move forward as quickly as it could unless these two camps stop pissing on each other.

Both groups have much to teach the other. Here's hoping we all put aside our jealousy and insecurities and start to learn from one another.


posted by Mack Collier @ 8:46 AM,

20 Comments:

At 10:53 AM, OpenID thebrandbuilder said...

Amen.

 
At 11:00 AM, Blogger Marigo Raftopoulos said...

You've hit the nail on the head. The arguments are based on uninformed stereotypes & it detracts from everyone seeing the convergence that is taking place. There is more than enough business for everyone, stop competing and start collaborating. Great post.

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Jacob Summers said...

Bunch of talking heads... or avatars... starting flamewars over territory in the field of Marketing/Advertising/PR. I agree.

 
At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Matt said...

Well stated, Mack. Today the best campaigns utilize both traditional and social media.

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Scott Schablow said...

"Can't we all just get along?" - Rodney King

 
At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Ardath Albee said...

Well said!

I think social media and traditional techniques will blend to work together to produce an increase in results that businesses are clamoring to see so they can give themselves permission to "buy in" to new ways of marketing.

It's not a one or the other deal.

 
At 6:19 PM, Blogger Tony said...

As a young ad person I have to say I've faced this and you're dead on. I've been guilty of telling older marketing manager they "don't get it" while they're telling me I'm too young to know anything and this social media thing is a fad that won't last. It's totally unproductive. I think only time, to prove that "this social media thing" isn't just a fad and that traditional marketing philosophies have a place in in, will truly be able to end this argument.

 
At 10:50 PM, Anonymous Ike said...

You left out people like me, Mack. Those with decades of communication experience who fail at both traditional marketing AND social media.

We outnumber all of you.

;)

 
At 12:59 AM, OpenID trainingtime said...

Like the comments before me - I agree. It's wrong to stereotype an entire generation, even if the 'get it' or not. Whether you're young or old, traditional or new, I think we all have something to learn from each other.

 
At 2:34 AM, Blogger Karthik S said...

Long overdue and very timely. Given the whole social media thingy is still evolving and people are learning every day, I guess all of us need to work together to make sense - not complete or fight with each other on who knows more.

 
At 4:14 AM, Anonymous Eric Wu said...

Agree. I think some of the problem stems from traditional marketers having to defend their ground against the cheaper, unproven alternatives in social media. I see many social media experts overstate potential impact and reach of a campaign and traditional marketers miss massive opportunities because they are hesitant to experiment.

 
At 8:38 AM, Blogger Geoff_Livingston said...

It's kinda like the old sales and marketing wars. Because sales pays the bills, marketing usually loses. Since marketing tends to pay corporate SM's bills...

 
At 1:30 PM, Blogger brandmarken said...

Great post Mack. The goal should be for all of us to become fluent in both the hard core business realities that marketing must serve and the latest tools/channels/technologies to communicate with consumers.

@TomMartin

 
At 1:46 PM, Anonymous Ken Wheaton said...

Hey, I resemble that remark!

 
At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Steve Woodruff said...

Just came back from a Real-time Communications conference and was very encouraged by the many "older" marketers and executives who are wrestling with the issues. This is normal human behavior when old turf is being defended and new turf being staked out. We'll get past most of it soon, as the business applications and advantages of soc med become clearer, and utilization becomes more ubiquitous.

 
At 9:51 PM, Anonymous Eric Brown said...

Hi Mack,
Interesting post. I am humored by the fact that about two thirds of our Social Media Marketing strategy (I may be using the wrong terminology, we just dump everything in the marketing bucket) that we are executing in our small business is straight out of a twenty year old workbook that we have tweaked and delivered thorough one of the social media channels.

So for us, we are using old tried and true traditional plays, but using social media as a conduit to deliver and manage, with the one big difference being two way conversations ensue

 
At 9:55 AM, Anonymous Mike Wagner said...

Change is threatening and technology like social media applications is accelerating change.

I like your point Mack --- this is a time for learning from anyone and everyone we can.

Keep creating...a future worth pursuing,
Mike

 
At 8:14 AM, Blogger gregory said...

definitely dying .. why? ...

intentions are more and more obvious ... marketing guys are not on my side .. so goodbye ...

hyperconnectivity changes everything

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger Laura said...

As I implement strategy for 2009 - I would like opinions from gurus on "generational" marketing and social media. Am I better to pump up social media volume for staff/manager levels and stay more traditional for execs?

 
At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Craig Sutton said...

Mack,

This is dead on, I think they both need each other to survive and don't subscribe to the idea that either form of media is the ONLY way to be successful.

I have seen local companies completely jump ship from traditional advertising that had worked for them for years without even taking the time to learn enough about Online Marketing to make it useful for there business.

 

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