Friday, March 14, 2008

Do Agencies Get Social Media?

Late last week, MediaPost's Cathy Taylor wrote about the shortcomings of marketing agencies (large ones at least) when it comes to really understanding and utilizing social media on their clients' behalf—or even their own—in Blogger's Block - And Other Ways Agencies Aren't Walking The Walk Of Social Media.

"
As for blogs, the number of agencies that have them is growing, but overall they're still pretty spotty in terms of technical chops and raison d'etre, and there's at times an embarrassing level of "Gee whiz! We're blogging!" to some posts. Haven't you people learned the art of pretending that you know what you're doing? Interpublic Group's Hill, Holliday, which made quite a few headlines a while back when it turned its Web site into a blog, isn't exactly transforming the medium as we know it with its posting prolific-ness. Since October, the agency has posted a dozen times."

She also comes down on DDB for the lack of permalinks on its blog; not exactly techno-savvy for a big agency.

To be sure, there are agencies (smaller ones at least) that clearly "get" social media and use it extensively, such as Skip Lineberg of Maple Creative with his Marketing Genius blog; Albert Maruggi at Provident Partners, guru of the Marketing Edge podcast; Harry Hoover at My Creative Team with THINKing; and possibly this blog, informally associated with KC Associates.

Cathy Taylor's post appears to have gotten very little attention from agency bloggers, perhaps because not only are they not writing blog posts, they aren't even monitoring what's written about them. But there was Selling tickets to the ball? Better learn to dance on the Fluent Simplicity blog: "Agencies promoting blogs and social media suffer from execution problems. Client projects either miss the whole point of blogging and/or (the agencies) don’t offer any in-house examples."

Perhaps big agencies don't get social media because of their still-prevailing TV mindset. Television advertising is fundamentally one-way, interruption-based messaging. Social media is about creating two-way conversations. Smaller agencies, who do little if any TV ad work, are better positioned to take advantage of blogging, podcasting, interactive PR, social networking and other techniques of conversational marketing.

On the other hand, Matt Dickman, director of digital practice at Fleishman-Hillard and author of the highly popular Techno//Marketer blog, shows that some big agencies do indeed get social media. He'll be speaking at The Fine Line in Minneapolis on Monday.

*****


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom

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