[Congress Report]: "Slow adoption of social media is like teenage sex"

Earlier this week I attended the presentation of the first social media benchmark study issued by the Chartered Institute of Marketing at Bloomberg House. Wow. Great venue, sexy use of prezzie, fancy infographics and interesting findings. But…. not many surprises about current use and not too many answers how one should use social media in the marketing mix. Yes, we know people are experimenting, yes we know people are keen on using social media, but no one cracked it yet and certainly not many people measure return on investment. Very typical was the discussion about where social media should be integrated in the organisational structure of a company; with PR/communications or marketing? As long as people don’t GET that social media is for us all – and CONTROL is one of those words that we have to ban from the marketing dictionary, it will be a long slow road towards adoption of social media.
The panel debate that followed provided certainly some more clarity, sparks and controversy. Josh Graff, EMEA Director of Marketing Solutions at LinkedIn had the best quote of the day, with comparing the slow Social Media adoption with Teenage Sex:

“Everyone wants it, at first it is a little disappointing, but it does get better with some practice!” @JoshGraff

Dara Nasr, Head of Agency Sales, YouTube shared his experience with tweeting on his commute on the Chiltern Railway and how impressed he was that he got an instant replay in a delayed train. Something I have never experienced myself on the same line (yet), but there should a first for everything. I can’t wait. And Russ Shaw, former Global VP Mobile, Skype provided a clear view that it should not all be about tactics, but he advised to start with listening first. Certainly very sound advice; I could not agree with him more. First Listening, then facilitate the debate, and then join the conversation. Check out our own research on this topic in the slidedeck below:

I think the challenge is that the experiments people currently see, only represent tactical, one of activities, which are not integrated in the total marketing strategy, let alone central to a wider all-encompassing company vision. Hence impact is low, faith is wavering and adoption is slow. When we witness and integrated strategy, it’s clear growth is the main outcome!

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