In a UK McCann-Erickson study, 67% of marketers admitted they don’t know as much about social media as they should. In fact, 14% of marketers don’t even think social media is here to stay. Do you think all of the other 33% “savvy marketers” really do know as much as they should? Are they all on twitter? Probably not—it’s just a theory for many of them.
#1 The first thing that Social Media and California raisins have in common; they are both here to stay!
Social media is not just a “thing”; it will be integrated into EVERYTHING. That makes it both more and less important than you think. Facebook and twitter apps and web access are now fairly common in cell phones. If teens are averaging 80 text messages a day (a form of social media), does that make it their dominant form of communication? Quite possibly. Verizon Fios is integrating social media (Facebook, Twitter) into TV. Of course, that has been there for a while via multitasking while watching TV (check out tweets with #worldseries). Like the internet was a thing (an entertainment media tied to a desktop computer that required making a phone call to initiate a session) but now is “built in” everywhere, so is (or will be) social media. That makes it ubiquitous and bigger than you think. On the other hand, it is important to realize that social media is part of mobile life, not the other way around (hence, the comment about it being less important than you think).
#2 Which brings me to the second thing Social Media and California raisins have in common: they are ingredients built into something bigger.
I think this point…that social media is an ingredient, rather than a replacement… is the part that Bob Garfield misses in his Chaos theory.
Now, what conversations occur in social media? Only those that people WANT to have. It’s their space, not the marketers’ space. Are brands there? Some brands are, and for some it works and for some it lays an egg. Some brands are defined by their social media presence like Zappos and some (like most packaged goods) are better built on traditional media and in-store (we think the ARF is more like Zappos BTW). A brand like candidate Obama needed both.
#3 The third thing that social media and California raisins have in common: they don’t go with everything.
If people are talking about what they want to talk about, that makes social media a great source for market research insights into people’s daily lives via something we refer to as “listening”. People are expressing themselves in an unfiltered way, as opposed to using a researcher’s vocabulary. That makes listening a great source for hearing the unexpected which is the starting point for innovation. As such social media might be the next big thing for the consumer insights teams at marketing organizations.