Pi Attitude Zone: Connectivity & Drive

Social Media May Be Just ...Media

Listen to some people in the ad industry, and you’d get the impression that the communication channels that predated the Social Media Revolution barely register with consumers any more.

Some brand marketers have been seduced into thinking that anything non-compliant with the dizzy pace of change in digital internet-driven marketing is “old hat”, and is a waste of their time and the brand’s money.

This nonsense is now being challenged by senior figures in the industry, who are increasingly convinced that marketing is entering a “post-digital age”.  This is not to say that digital media are becoming redundant, but that they are being recognized as part of a whole.  Indeed, say some, digital and social media have become so much part of the brand communication process, they no longer need to be treated as some kind of “separate function”.  Instead, they should be integrated back into a total-media mix in such a way that consumers no longer see the dividing line.

Such industry leaders as Nestlé, Unilever, Mondelez and Procter & Gamble are bypassing the breathy pronouncements of social media specialists, and once again asserting their faith in great ideas founded on powerful insights.  Ideas-driven marketing is back.  The shift in thinking is summarized in a report from Warc; “Focus[ing] on the ability of digital channels to deliver instant results will not deliver long-term success, unless complemented by longer-term activity to strengthen the brand”.  Blindly throwing communication investment into social media risks “losing sight of the fundamentals”.

When even self-styled social media marketing managers start urging this kind of return to basics, you know a change in thinking is upon us.  Jerry Daykin, social media tsar for Mondelez’ snackfood business, recently expressed his impatience with obsessive digital navel-gazing:  “"We devote too much time to worrying about the subtle changes to social ad products and algorithms, when we should really focus on world class content and media strategies that can succeed whatever the latest tweak may be", he avers.  “A good marketer [is] able to generate real insight into consumers, products and the wider market, and so define a clear marketing strategy  whatever the sector or business.  As someone who focuses on digital, my biggest worry is when those insights, objectives and marketing skills get left at the door, and we start chasing the latest trend [and] arbitrary digital targets".

Dedicated as Pi is to providing consumer insights that span all communication channels, we couldn’t agree more.  If social media are taking up more than a reasonable slice of a brand’s effort, then its stewards are falling into the trap of thinking more and more about less and less.  As Jerry Daykin puts it, “In some ways the industry has backed itself into a corner by focusing on deep engagements with core fans, when most marketers actually want to spend their money reaching fickle new people and driving penetration”.  Just so.

Pi says:  brands should focus on real consumer insi....  oh look, a squirrel!

Zone: Connectivity & Drive Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Communications