May 17, 2023

Undercover Marketer: On Starting to Get a Reputation and Spying on the Grandkids

Date & Time (GMT):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM
Date & Time (EST):
May 17, 2023 12:47 PM

Welcome to the third instalment of our Undercover Marketer series… This month our marketer talks about getting a reputation and the misconception about social media and social data.

Guess what? It’s already time for your monthly update on the trials and tribulations of my mission to get my company to consider using social insight to fuel decisions rather than, y’know, just asking a bunch of people who are being paid to pretend they already know.

Yep, I’m still bitter! Gosh, you’re in for a treat (again!).

I Pitched A Flop

So, last time we spoke I’d just pitched my social data fantasy with a huge flop. This month I was going to try and be specific to different people’s jobs (mixing the analyst with the brand guy wasn’t working).

I decided I need to try and come up with a reason for this stuff which doesn’t sound like I'm saying ‘hey Mr Marketing, everything you’re currently doing is totally wrong and you don’t know anything about who our customers are.’

Offence, turns out, will get you nowhere.

So how did I get on?

If this was a performance review I’d say something about facing challenges and opportunities for learning. But it’s not a performance review so let’s just be honest - I’m not getting on. With anyone.

My endeavours to lead this crusade has, in fact, made me feel even more distant from the corporate beast than I did before. If I felt like the alien before, I now feel like…er…can’t think of anything worse than an alien. Anyway, it’s bad.

Recovering the Conversation

Since my last post, I’ve had four different meetings with entirely different parts of the business.

Each focused on a different angle/purpose/approach to social insights and none of them got even a follow-up email.

At least I didn’t spend 3 weeks of my life preparing slide presentations. NOT.

But I’m starting to see that part of the problem is the very word ‘social’. It seems to get people into a room but that ’s about the end of it.

It’s like the cool thing that everyone wants to show up to but when they get there it was all about just showing they’re there. Like those people who go to hip new bars just so they can check in on Facebook and walk out again. Or people who stop to take a selfie next to an amazing landmark because it’s way better to make it look like you’re involved than actually, y’know, being involved.

I’m Getting a Rep

I did hit one milestone this week. I found out that I’m getting a reputation as the one who’s going on about social data. I think this is a win.

And how do I know? Well, Bob told me.

Ok time for you to meet Bob. This is a real old-timer here. The kinda guy who walks down the corridor to a chorus of ‘hi Bob’, ‘morning Bob’ and ‘nice day for it Bob!’. He’s got a window desk that’s adorned with memorabilia alluding to his long history with the business – cards, Christmas party photos and always a fresh cuppa in his ‘Bob’s the boss’ mug. Bob is practically part of the furniture (of course his name’s not Bob but he might as well be a Bob, or a John, or a Susan.)

Anyway, Bob asked to chat to me about my ‘social media stuff’.

He actually asked. This is exciting. Firstly, it means that people are talking about it.

Secondly, if it’s reached Bob’s ears, it’s thought of as worth talking about. I imagine. I’m letting myself have this small success.

So we’re sitting in the common area – me with my thick folder full of visuals, proposals, project plans and case studies. Bob with his usual about-to-make-a-joke look.

So I start.

‘The exciting thing about social intelligence is it's based on existing information, not stuff we’ve gone out to collect. It’s unbiased, organic and all this from social media!'

‘Now let me stop you there’ says Bob.

He leans in and half whispers to me… ‘all that social media malarkey – I don’t really get it’. And there it is. The million dollar comment. Thank you Bob!

Social Media is STILL a Mystery

Turns out there’s a real problem here. Social media is STILL a mystery.

It’s got its place – the cool kids that sit in the engagement marketing department and talk about hashtags and campaigns. There are 3 of them. I hired them.

My suggestion that they get the job title ‘Community Manager’ was met with a resounding no. So they’re called Marketing Associates.

Doesn’t have quite the same ring does it?

Apparently, 'community' is something covered by internal comms. Yawn. I digress.

The point is that if people at Bob’s level aren’t aware of just how huge social media is to the consumer landscape, how are they ever going to see the potential for social data?

For people like Bob, Facebook is something his wife uses to spy on the Grandkids and Instagram is some kind of game and who knows what he thinks of Snapchat. He’s so distanced from this stuff. Yet, my wonderful hero, Bob has done what the other seniors haven’t so far - he’s admitted to his naivety.

So I’m faced with a new challenge (as if I didn’t have enough already) - how do you explain the enormity of social media without patronising An Important Business Person...?

It’s all starting to feel a little like too much work. But I’m the social data crusader now (even Bob knows it) and I’ve committed to this blog series so here’s to another month of experimenting with ways of talking about social media insights and trying to think of something worse than an alien.

As ever, if you've got any ideas, I'd love to hear them.

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