B&T MAGAZINE Feature Article
Everyone’s a ‘social media’ expert these days but if you’re a marketer, what truly represents the best way to assign and manage your social media activity? Kevin Johns asks the key stakeholders
OK, let’s not over-think this. Take away the ‘social’ from social media, social CRM, social marketing and even social networking, and what do you end up with? Now have a think about where in your business those functions sit. If you truly are the ‘customer focused’ business that you claim to be, and according to our own research 65% of consumers say a digital experience (a significant part of which is social) changed their opinion about a brand or the products and
services it offers, you’ll have digital/social integrated with each of these business functions, regardless of whether you insource or outsource the capability.
As you’ll know from your experiences in other parts of your business, the in-house/outsource decision is based upon a number of factors. One of those is around your current strength, or capability, in the area in question. For many large companies, the in-house digital/social capability is a weakness (if it exists
at all) and, until they feel confident/able to invest in talent that clearly understands the digital/social dynamic, those companies are choosing to outsource. Of course, even when you do start to invest in in-house digital/social talent, there are areas of both that would benefit to remain outsourced – just as there are benefits to doing the same in other areas of the business. A key benefit to specialist outsourcing is in maintaining a frontfoot through deeper insight and expertise, in areas that are new and/or prone to frequent change.
With social, most of what’s happening around us right now is ‘new’ to the marketing mix, and therefore most of it is being outsourced. Over time though, as social becomes standard in the marketing mix, much of it should begin to transfer in-house. Our approach is very much along these lines. Whilst we can manage a brand’s entire social mix for as long as required, we aim to educate and transfer knowledge along the way, with a view to eventually handing over the reins to the in-house teams.
Does this mean that we lose a part of our business over time? No – for two reasons. The first, as I mentioned earlier, is that there will still be areas in this space that are subject to frequent change and/or require a deeper level of insight and expertise, such as the strategy and creation of ‘social objects’ to amplify the conversation beyond the everyday conversation. Secondly, it means that the time we gain back from handing over the reins to our partners will be reinvested into bringing you the next relevant wave of digital experiences to keep your brand and business ahead of the game.
And that’s where our hearts belong.
Published in B&T Magazine, 11 June 2010