The past couple of months have been trying to understand the debate of Social Media which suddenly has taken over the web, agency & young marketers.

Whilst meaning to attend one of the media summit, bar camp or whatever it is called at different locations, previous commitments have interfered but never mind I shall make it a point some time soon.
Mahesh Murthy & Nethra Parikh recently organized a discussion on Bridging the Social Media Divide
As the post says: A good beginning is always made when both sides accept that there is a disconnect. Being from a client’s side & not even a marketer, having dealt with agencies, marketers & SM guru, some points that seem relevant to me are:

1) Medium does not matter, Performance criteria, fixed parameters linked to deliverables maybe not
always immediate ROI is a necessity.

2) Whilst Mavens are required, particularly for some industries, it is a reality that typically clients are wary
about the % of budget to be devoted there & hence the short shift to #SM

3) Marketers are great at asking Q as are Agencies in answering them but the fact remains that except
for the top 5% of companies/brands who understand quantifiable data that has quality linked to it,
accept it and the most IMP ACT on it. e.g every talks CRM; tracking customer thoughts on their
product etc. but finally not doing anything about it since there is always a serious disconnect internally
where the marketer’s ability to sell to internal clients is suspect.

4) Instead of harping on Marketing, platforms, Media – social or otherwise & pushing examples of the
American Social Media that mostly does not have relevance in the Indian context or scenario, the way
to win win situation would be to
a. All Social Media Guru’s to become Shishyas first, share in layman terms what they mean without
using jargon which is difficult for anyone & everyone to understand.
i. With due respect to everyone who had gathered
ii. With all learning’s I have gleaned on the web in the past couple of years
iii. And meeting passionate web marketers, SEO, bloggers, now Tweeples & Social Media
enthusiasts
Most of them are extremely passionate but keep spouting something they have either read in the
blogs of so called American experts or collected & believe in short term gains.
E.G. I need one client a month to take care of my expenses….brilliant….there’s a sucker born every
minute!
OR
Use the funnel theory…..pitch to every tom, dick & harry…you’ll soon find one Chandru

Every couple of months they re invent themselves with the new mantra of the quarter.

b. Once the Social Media aspect is laid down for a layman; convert/adapt/apply it to the Indian
perspective AND mind you here the approach has to be across industries, because the idea is
the more difficult the industry segment, the easier it is for them to understand. e.g. applying it
to a retail store chain is easier whereas applying it to a CFL or LED manufacturer is difficult
initially but would pay rich dividends. Also they are more adaptive to change as they are also
trying to change the industry.

c. Once you have a couple of solid diverse industry examples or even when you are applying it
there, broadcast, share the case on an ongoing basis….basically do everything you speak about
i.e. should be used to influence, call to action etc.

d. Finally the bridge is more or less getting there; the disconnect is reducing slowly & soon it shall
be integrated.

5) All of the above is something that is vital. Even today in India 90% of the agencies (large ones top
10)have a web marketing, presence, social media division, company BUT except for those 10-20 people
working there, no body else has a clue & it does not form a part of the pitch.

6) Rest of the agencies would not even have that. Besides this there are the whole list of
specialists….boutique agencies, designers, buyers.

7) AND of course the PR agencies who except 1 or 2 (and believe me I have dealt with a lot of them)have
no clue about what you are talking except Page 3 tactical ideas.

ASK any one of them – Is PR really understanding & harnessing the power of social networking sites, blogs to help Biz generate strategic mindshare & presence. And you will see blank faces.

So to get Social Media really Social & acceptable, do not rely on marketing or PR only but let it act as an Integrator which helps the client to really understand all 3 in one go once applied in tandem.

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Written by AD
ex waiter, angadia, travel agent, dotcomer, dukaandaar, marketeer, people watcher. appreciates single malt, food, friends