Sep 28, 2012

Online Marketing, Social and the Teams Who Do It

Posted by Tatiana Mejia

Three years ago, we were talking about mobile and the mobile web. As if it was something separate from the Web. It was. Briefly. Now we talk about the Web and it is mobile. The discussion has moved on to mobile first and what that means.

History repeats itself. Today we talk about social and the social web. My prediction is that in three years we will just talk about the Web and of course it is social. So lets look at our marketing history over the past ten years or so - the evolution of online marketing, the emergence of social, and the teams who do it. Where we’ve been. In hopes of understanding where we (as marketers) are going. All together now – this is social.

At the turn of the century, the early 2000s that is, corporate communications and brand marketing worked together primarily on the brand website and online store. Digital properties tended to be quite simply a digital version of offline materials. This was the era of website as online brochures and product catalogues. Marketing success was tracked based on soft metrics like brand awareness and by extension website success was measured in terms of traffic or “eyeballs” as we referred to it in Silicon Valley. We all know how that turned out.

Then more and more customers went online and spent their time there. “Social” started to emerge and by the late 2000s, there was a transition. Corporate communications and brand marketing started working closely together on digital marketing campaigns. The funnel that had been around conceptually for a while could now be measured or at least sampled and the insights could be used to drive business.

Social media marketing became a part-time reality for those one or two people responsible for it in addition to their other job responsibilities. Social campaigns were often disconnected from the rest of marketing making coordination and follow-through a challenge. Those who ran social media focused on what they could - soft metrics such as fans and Likes - which much like brand marketing ten years prior, did not immediately or directly tie to business results.

Today, or perhaps for some in the very near future, corporate communications and brand marketing will merge into a corporate marketing function. They will coordinate closely with a dedicated social media team, which will have a role in all marketing campaigns. All activities, including social media efforts, will be expected to tie to business results. There will be ongoing collaboration with a demand marketing team focused across digital properties and across the marketing funnel.

There is little disagreement on the future of online marketing with a holistic view of channels and customer experience. The question remains how best to get there given from where we’ve come. We have fragmentation of everything; content, data, roles, budget, KPIs. Previously, each marketing team made decisions in a silo and selected the best tool to do so in the most efficient manner possible. Sensible, right? So now, most companies have many point solutions, each with their own content and data. Identifying key takeaways requires integrations and manual analysis. Yet, the speed of social dictates that marketers be aware of customer sentiment and trends and be empowered to take action in real-time.

How is your marketing organization changing to meet the new demands of digital marketing (social implied)?

Tatiana Mejia

Adobe CQ product marketing