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Why media agencies will fail at social media marketing

3 min read
social media marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms and products to promote a product.

Why didn’t Facebook create Instagram? Because their business was connecting people via messages and profiles, not pretty pictures.

Why didn’t Blockbuster found Netflix? Because their business was retail outlets for renting movies not streaming movies.

Why didn’t Kodak invent the digital camera? Because their business was analog cameras, not digital.

Why didn’t HP build the first Apple computers? Because their business wasn’t the personal computer.

So what happened in these colossal over sights from some of the biggest brands and companies in the world? The marketing manager, CEO or board of directors all knew the old, they all knew the way they got to be where they are, but none of them knew about the future and to be honest, they probably didn’t care.

Often we reject what we don’t understand.

How is this relevant to companies using media agencies to handle their social media?  Well, I’m seeing the same thing happening in the media industry right now as the famous analogies of disruption and oversight mentioned above. Australia’s biggest media agencies were built by being expert in TV and Radio advertising and marketing. This is what they know, and care about. All the hype, and shift in consumers attention causing demand for social media marketing has forced the industry leaders to adopt a new business division and hire a ‘head of digital marketing’ or social media manager to handle their clients ever increasing demand to be prevalent on all types of social media. Well it’s not good enough. Why?

Well, please remember that the inventor of the digital camera was an employee of Kodak and tried to convince the executive management of it’s value and potential.  Instead of the inventor getting welcomed with praise and a promotion, he was kindly asked to stick to his day job. The executive management didn’t see the value in it.

I see this happening all the time in media agencies now, where the social media manager might have a good idea or want to try something new but the ideas or effort never see the light of day. The account managers know that TV and radio bring in more money, so they keep it in the marketing mix, and allocate the funds and attention elsewhere.

social media marketing

Latest studies suggest we spend over 10 hours per day on digital devices connected to the internet. So with TV viewership on the decline, and the rise of digital devices, why has this been not reflected in the marketing budgets? Well, it’s because the marketing executive making the decisions on the account doesn’t understand or believe in social media, and still talks about the ‘good old days’ when everyone gathered around the TV for entertainment over a family dinner. Of course they include social media in the budget for appearances, but it’s not a genuine effort or passion in the skill.

So if you believe that your company or brand should be on social media (which you should all know by now), don’t let there be conflict with your dollars. Go to Blockbuster if you want the past, and go to Netflix for the future. Don’t hope that Blockbuster will figure it out in time. Social-first means future-first.

This post first appeared on LinkedIn.

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