Marketers & Advertisers: Give Up Control To Regain It.

It is hard being a marketer or advertiser these days. It feels like everything you were taught about marketing and advertising has been turned on its head. Most of the core principles, whether you practice the Four P’s or the Four C’s are about marketer and advertiser control. Yet, the problem today is that the marketer, their advertising agency, and PR firm have lost a lot of control over much communication about the brand.

With the rise of social media the power of the consumer’s voice is now equal or even more powerful than the brand’s voice. Consider the fact that consumers’ trust other people’s opinions online much more than any brand messages you can publish in ads or on the web. As mobile use increases, the consumer’s voice will only get more powerful, more immediate, and more frequent. Customer service departments know this very well.

Social Media Marketing Advertising Public Relations Strategy Keith QuesenberryWe are in the midst of a consumer revolution where the marketer, advertiser, and PR professional are no longer King. Content is King and consumers control what content is viewed, shared and created. Does this mean marketers, advertisers, and PR pros should simply give up? Not in the sense of throwing in the towel, but they need to understand one key lesson for today’s social media environment: Learn to give up control of your brand to regain it. Click To Tweet We may no longer be able to control much of the brand talk online, but we are able to influence it if we switch from our old traditional, mass media control model to a new social media engagement mindset.

A shift in mindset of this magnitude is not easy. The shift to Integrated Marketing Communication was relatively easy in comparison. We simply had to start working with and unify disciplines, partners and channels such as advertising, public relations, direct response and Internet (interactive). But now the consumer is also creating brand content. You can’t have conference calls with consumers and send them your brand standards, marketing plans and creative briefs.

If you want to find your brand these days you must be willing to lose it. This doesn’t mean that social media marketing has no strategy. On the contrary, strategy is even more important. More and more CMO’s are shifting budgets to social media yet most still struggle with integration of social into their traditional marketing, PR, digital and advertising efforts. Others struggle with focusing a strategy in social with such a dynamic environment and simply end up chasing the hot new social channels as they come out.

If you struggle with integration, if you’re missing focus and simply feel social media is out of control, it may be time to take a step back and look at the big picture. Reset your mindset about marketing, advertising, PR, and digital control. Take a 30,000 foot look at your brand, situation, and at what works and doesn’t work in social media to develop a framework that will work today with Facebook and Snapchat and will work tomorrow for whatever new network or mobile app comes out of the tech corridor.

A basic social media strategy framework:

  1. Identify your business goals, marketing strategy and key performance indicators (KPIs).
  2. Determine your target audience, discover where they’re talking online and what they’re saying.
  3. Engage the target on their social platforms with meaningful branded content in a way that leverages each platform’s key capabilities.

This list is incomplete, but it gets you started in a place rooted in your unique situation and drives a strategy of choosing social platforms and creating content based on your business objectives, marketing strategy and target audience. For a more comprehensive look and process for social media strategy I have written Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution. It will take any marketer, advertiser, PR pro, digital consultant, entrepreneur, or student through a simple step-by-step process to developing a truly integrated and enduring social media plan.

Successful Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes To Discover New Approaches, Opportunities And Business Models

“To me success can be achieved only through repeat failure and introspection”     – Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda Motor Company

Unfortunately too many firms I worked for motivated performance with fear of failure. Their attitude was that it better be perfect the first time. But I have learned over the years that failure is part of the learning process.

In the Harvard Business Review Peter Sims agrees. In The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure, Sims observes that many MBA-trained executives are never given permission to fail and industrial management is mostly built on mitigating risks and preventing errors, not innovating or inventing. Yet Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research that successful entrepreneurs make decisions by making lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models.

The way you handle failure is the corner stone of success. Having no room for failure means you have no room for progress. In another HBR article, Whitney Johnson advises how to Put Failure in It’s Place. Johnson says, “Implicit in daring to disrupt the status quo is daring to fail. As we learn by doing and do by learning something will eventually (and inevitably) not work.” How do we not let failure take us down?

  1. Acknowledge sadness: Grieving is an important part of the process. If you suppress sadness, you risk losing your passion, which is the essential engine of innovation.
  2. Jettison shame: Failure doesn’t limit innovation – shame does. Pull shame out of the process to gain the lift you need to get back to daring and dreaming.
  3. Learn the right lesson: What valuable truth did you discover by failing? The lesson isn’t to never pursue a dream again, but to gain valuable insights that will help the next idea succeed.

The difference between winners and losers is winners have accepted failure, learned from it and move on. Losers never enter the game for fear of failure or the first failure stops them dead in their tracks. Need more proof? Here is a list of famous failures turned success by Business Insider:

  • Walt Disney was told a mouse would never work.
  • J.K. Rowling was on welfare.
  • Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for T.V.”
  • Jerry Seinfeld was booed off-stage.
  • Sidney Poitier was told to become a dishwasher.
  • Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times.
  • The Beatles were dropped by their record label.
  • Steven King received 30 rejections for “Carrie.”
  • Michael Jordan was cut form his high school basketball team.
  • Steve Jobs was removed from the company he started.

Failure isn’t time to stop, it’s time to learn. Anything worth having is not easy. Join the winners that own their failures and learn from it. The reality of our world today is we all must be lifelong learners. Are you not allowing yourself to fail and limiting your future success?