Saturday, 15 May 2010

Everyone's a marketer

As I run seminars helping professionals get to grips with how social media* can help build and grow their businesses, a simple truth is becoming very clear to me;

In the new world of social media, everyone's a marketer.

I am not saying this is the end of the need for marketing departments. Of course there will always be the need for them, to co-ordinate and drive activity. However, I do believe there needs to be a mindset change within organisations as to what the role of marketing is. Traditional marketing is about lead generation, brand building and supporting the sales function. This kind of marketing is well defined and often lives quite independently of other departments. I believe that, particularly for professional services companies, marketing is at a challenging place, as it needs to become much more integrated and cohesive with the rest of the organisation.

Most marketers understand that social media has challenged traditional activity, and that the blend of go-to-market activity of any campaign now needs to include social media. That is a given. But what is not so well understood is how this new social world impacts the relationships between departments within an organisation? I am not sure many marketing departments are asking the questions;

1) How do we harness the power of social media, utilising everyone within the organisation?
2) How can marketing bring leadership to the organisation in order to maximise the benefit of social media?
2) What is marketing's role in coordinating this disparate activity?

As with all opportunities before us, we have to embrace the change that goes with the opportunity. Business leaders need to empower their organisations to explore these things.

Our understanding of the power of social media to benefit business has only just begun.
Exciting stuff.

Sandra Bullen

*Social media is complex, but in the main, I simplify it to Linked-in, blogging and micro-blogging.