THE REMIX: Are You Paying Unqualified Experts?

I wrote a post, and you (insert liked or hated) it

Last week I wrote a post suggesting a social media service provider should possess marketing acumen. 

While I stand behind that, I thought it interesting that several people pointed out that all marketing types aren’t suited for social media.  On this point I agree.  So I’d like to dive a bit deeper and share more of my thoughts, fwiw.

I stumbled upon this quote from Scott Monty, who heads Ford’s SM program, and thought  it relevant:

“Let’s not kid ourselves.  Using social media as part of your marketing mix is far more than recruiting some über-connected individual who can bring attention to your brand. It starts with crafting a strategy and understanding what your business objectives are.  And it means never, ever taking your eye off the customer and doing what matters – providing value to them. After all, isn’t that what you’re in business for?”

Two points I zeroed in on: 1) That social media is part of marketing and 2) There are skill sets required beyond the ability to amass followers.

So, if it’s a marketing program, doesn’t it make sense to have a person with some marketing background head the program?  Or, at the very least contain the overall program within the marketing department?   

Once upon a time ….

“Interactive” agencies were born – from a need.  I remember those times well, and (as a marketing leader) it was a hassle to hire two separate agencies for what – IMO – needed to be integrated efforts.

I had each whispering their specific agenda into my ear, albeit with good intentions, but their viewpoint was decidedly one-sided.  They weren’t thinking around the sum total of all efforts/programs.  My job was to look at the bigger picture:  The overarching strategy, how these executables supported my company’s strategic imperatives, and how I benchmark and measure each.

I was caught in a tug-o-war between experts in their particular, specific fields.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I needed experts.  However, if the web shop had more “traditional” brand strategy experience (and appreciated its magnitude), or my agency had web capabilities it would have made my life easier.  

Fast forward to smart “traditional” agencies that, foreseeing the coming paradigm shift, staffed up with the specialized talent (creative, strategic and techie) to offer all services under one roof.   (Can you imagine any agency now failing to offer web development?)  

Now, while a plethora of specialty shops (agencies or consultants) exist, be it by industry- or discipline-specific, for the most part the great divide of “traditional” vs. interactive is arguably lessened.

See where I’m going? 

No matter the offering (creative services, social media, product development, user experience, etc.) a strategic roadmap must exist.

Read the rest here

One response to “THE REMIX: Are You Paying Unqualified Experts?

  1. You are echoing (extremely eloquently) a growing feeling that I have seen across the web, that digital agencies need to grow up, and as an owner of a digital agency I agree with that completely. Having said that I don’t think it it is necessarily the fault of digital agencies that the vast majority are unable to offer the kind of services that clients are now asking for.

    Back in 95 when I started in this industry it was a normal thing to offer tactical solutions because strategy was something that the offline agencies did. In fact the best way to grow then was to ally yourself with an offline agency and become the preferred ‘digital guys’ for their clients and therefore fit in with their strategic offer.

    As the balance has changed over the years I now believe that digital agencies need to be less of a bunch of techie guys talking in acronyms and much more of a group of marketers giving hard facts on how to deliver hard value. It was one of the guiding principles behind the idea of ourdigital marketing strategy, and a key differentiator for our offer. We actually launched exactly a year ago today and back then I don’t think the marketplace was ready for us. It was certainly a tough task persuading clients that we didn’t want to talk about boutique services. We wanted to talk about how to link everything up into an overall strategic plan, but I have seen a difference throughout the year and there is now much more of a willingness to have the kind of conversation that I think will benefit clients and also enable digital media to fulfil its promise.

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