A few days ago, my co-worker, who is the head media buyer now, asked me a really good question. A client of ours is interested in investing in a third-page ad. If you have ever bought ad space before, you know that third-page ads usually come in 3 shapes – horizontal, vertical, and square. All of them are priced the same (usually), so the choice of which version to recommend comes down to a lot of other factors, like what you are going to need to promote in the ad, how the publication places different types of ads, and what kind of ad would be likely to pop the most. We leafed through the publication, discussed it in detail, and made a decision.
All of that work, conversation, and strategizing revolved around a single ad placement for a single client in a single publication. In the grand scheme of things, it might seem like the ramifications of our decision would be pretty small. However, when you place ad space, this is what you have to do if you want to do a good job.
So it is with so much that an agency does. We proofread everything we do. We make sure publications are going to pick up our news releases. We learn about all facets of our clients’ businesses, to the best of our ability, so that our conversations and recommendations can be grounded in their world.
I would wager that companies who work with agencies would say that they appreciate this kind of eye for detail. People like to have someone they can depend on in areas of detail and footwork.
And yet, for some reason, so many people, so many companies, rush right into Social Media as if no care was required. Instead, an air of “I got this” fogs up the room as different people note that “My teenage son/daughter/niece/nephew does this all of the time. How hard can it be?”
A campaign of one
When you buy ad space, you look at the overall circulation, and then you look at the sub-groups within that circulation. Are you reaching the groups of people you need to reach? Have groups of people been qualified?
In Social Media, everything is about 1. You are looking to connect with 1 person at a time. You are looking for 1 really great connection. You are communicating so that everyone feels like he or she is your audience, alone. Does this not also require some planning, some care? Is this not perhaps a different kind of operation that requires a different kind of precision? Would you try to buy media space just because you read a publication? Why then do people and companies attempt to use Social Media marketing with the validation that they have a personal Facebook account that they use at home?
It’s Different and the Same
Suzanne Vara and I often chat about how Social Media marketing and advertising are really not the separate planets that people would make them out to be. Yes, of course Twitter is very different from a print publication or an industry vortal website. Yes, of course Social Media is more dynamic and more “wild West.” Even so, marketing, in the end, is marketing. It still takes a plan. It still takes measurement. It still takes time to make decisions. Maybe it’s whether to use a person’s picture or a company logo as the avatar versus what kind of third-page ad to buy. It’s still a decision. The care must still transfer.
Just something to consider before closing your eyes, plugging your nose, and jumping in.