The fun work.

Social_media_logos

“The conversation is happening either way. It’s your choice if you want to be part of it”.

“Engagement is the new ROI”.

“Self expression is the new entertainment”.

I was recently in Toronto for the Canadian Marketing Association’s annual convention. Social media and online experiences are getting a lot of attention aren’t they?

There’s a lot of really smart people spending long hours (and money) developing engaging online experiences. With these tactics we’re talking about brand awareness or affinity, or loyalty. This is important work.

But this is just part of the answer. We’ve not talking about what makes cash registers ring or PayPal click. We’re talking about likes, favourable mentions, friends and followers – not same store sales or gross margin or average basket. We’re talking about the fun work. The type of work creative people are drawn to and aspire to be a part of. It’s exciting work and there’s no doubt powerful, emotionally driven brand experiences are being created.

We can’t forget the other layers. The rest of the consumer’s journey to becoming an actual customer. It’s not as sexy, but point of sale matters. Traditional media still matters (see Joe Fresh). Securing better shelf placement at a prominent retailer will do more for sales than 10,000 new followers. And in a cluttered digital landscape full of shallow connections, noise and static, offline installations present an opportunity for deep consumer engagement.

You wouldn’t just pick up a hammer or drill and then try and find something to do with it. It all starts with the idea to build or create something. Whether that’s a brand, product or a patio it’s the same. It starts with an idea, then a plan. Then and only then can you pick the tools for the project.

* Just so you know – This isn’t the sour grapes of a traditional account guy who’s no longer relevant. I work for an integrated agency and champion social media and online interaction both inside the agency and with our clients. But only when it’s the right tool for the job and the client is capable of making the significant commitment involved.  

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