Web 2.0 Was So Yesterday

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If you think the days of Blogs, Facebook and YouTube were oh so 2007, it turns out that it’s not only fresh as a daisy in the eyes of most Marketers, but there is still a long way to go before it becomes a major part of the overall marketing mix.

That was the general message you could pull from the news item, Marketers Still Face Steep Web 2.0 Learning Curve, in MediaBuyerPlanner today.

"The majority of marketing executives are still in the early, experimental phases of using and measuring social media and 80% say that they have not yet fully integrated the core elements of Web 2.0 into their marketing efforts, according to a survey from the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), reports MarketingCharts.

Among the social media tools currently being used, social networking sites – such as MySpace and Facebook, blogs and video-sharing sites are cited most often (view chart of social media tools).

The survey of MENG members was conducted to gauge the role of social media in today’s marketing practices, and found that nearly 75% of respondents define social media as media that is based on conversations among users (see chart of definitions)."

It gets a little stranger. More than half of the Marketers surveyed see themselves as beginners at using social media for Marketing purposes, and close to ninety percent of them who are involved in programs are not measuring the ROI of their efforts. To top it all off, the majority still see Social Media as the "Wild West." Despite all of that, more than 67% say they will increase their social media advertising budget in 2009.

If they’re going to use words like the "Wild West" allow me to continue on that metaphor: "hold your horses!" First off, they don’t really use it, get it, or know how to measure it, but they’re going to be doing a lot more of it? Plus, are the Marketers surveyed talking about being a part of existing conversations (marketing and communications within the channels) or are they talking about advertising in social media channels?

The language being used in this news item is quite confusing. The Social Media channels have three ways that Marketers can get involved:

1. Advertising – putting display advertising, contextual text ads, affiliate marketing, most of these channels have many opportunities for Marketers, and they’re not unlike any type of advertising you’re currently doing online (only it’s a little bit more expensive because of the mass amounts of traffic and current popularity).

2. Be a part of a community – you can set-up a Fan Page or Group on Facebook, you can start commenting on Blogs and much more. The opportunity here is to look at the existing channels and the existing communities and join their ongoing conversations.

3. Start your own – this is creating your own Blog, Podcast or online community through something like Ning, etc… It’s starting off fresh with your own social channel on your own property.

While it may still be the "Wild West" there are many frontiers that are being populated. There are many social circles already formed and established. There are many new types of uses being invented every day. The challenge is to figure out "why" you should be a part of these channels, what value you’re going to add and how you’re going to measure success.


  1. good post. i suspect that agencies will have one or 2 people per client (at least) dedicated to starting or continuing social media conversations throughout available outlets. then again, i can’t imagine why marketers wouldn’t just bring the cpability in house.

  2. This makes a compelling argument for all senior marketing executives to be replaced with social media gurus like Mitch.
    The former execs can work for said gurus, who will instruct them on how to really do things.

  3. I agree with you, the challenge is figuring out why and how to measure success. My question is what kinds of success metrics are you talking about? Do you measure SEO traffic? Brand awareness? Is it truly possible to correlate ROI to social media?

  4. Mitch, your past three posts have had a strong link between then and should almost be read together as one piece. If I can summarize.
    We have entered the digital era, which is disrupting businesses, marketplace’s and communities by developing new ways to give and receive value.
    This ‘new value’ is being provided by new or evolved business models.
    New models change the expectations and skills needed in certain positions and makes any existing position irrelevant if it no longer provides benefit to the new digital value.
    The role of marketing and the skills of marketeers have changed because of “digital disruptions new models”. The challenge for marketeers and business communicators is to evolve WITH social media through understanding and developing competency.
    Unfortunately there is a large percentage of marketeers and communicators who simply fail to understand the digital space.
    Developing understanding is the great first step for marketeers to become digitally relevant.
    – Read digital marketing blogs
    – Listen to digital marketing podcasts
    – Add comments
    – Go to meetups and unconferences
    – Interact through twitter, facebook etc
    I have been telling my communications students over and over for the past semester, “Marketing is an activity, it is not passive, if you want to excel in this field, you have to be active in exploring, discovering and testing this space, because you will not create competency in this space by reading about it in a book or newspaper”.

  5. hey mitch, thanks for sharing the article, i just wrote about it as well. im not too shocked with the results however im also not concerned with “social media” either. i think the question that we need to understand is how executives see social media STRATEGY fitting in with their company/business goals or objectives. creating a facebook fan page or a twitter account is easy but then what?
    how does twitter fit into the marketing mix? how does facebook help reach Q1 targets? These are the interesting and valuable questions that executives may or may not have answers to.

  6. Thanks for the comments.
    Jacob, you’re asking “how” – which (to me) sounds like a tactical question. I’m still much more concerned with “why”. Why should their brands be on Twitter or Facebook. Once a Marketer can answer the “why”, the “how” is pretty straight-forward.

  7. Hell, just this week, a major Toronto hospital offered me a consulting gig to produce podcasts (interviews with adolescent mental health and addiction experts). Moreover, they want me to train their PR staff to do the same.
    This article is a keeper Mitch and I’ll be sharing it with my colleagues. Thanks.

  8. One thing is clear is that the gap between participants and non-participants of Web 2.0 is HUGE. Generally, if you don’t participate you don’t even know what Web 2.0 is…
    This being said, I beleive that the next big wave of adopters will be the marketing and PR professionals.

  9. It’s funny, but for me the “why” is straight forward (effective, efficient, measurable, not expensive…), it is the how that is much more difficult to master. Getting senior management to buy in, corporate culture issues, making sure the IT/IS follows, the integration into individual G&Os, the releasing of control to allow multiple people in the organization to participate in online conversations about a brand… These are the types of issues which make it tricky.

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