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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on June 10, 2008

Social media and web 2.0 have officially been embraced by big business. But what about traditional media strategies and tactics? Should they be labeled anti-social?

In the spirit of emerging tools that strive to deepen the conversations being undertaken from B2B and B2C, some are forgetting the 'should' and embracing the 'can'. Assuming social media tools are the 'silver bullets' to facilitate effective marcoms is faulty logic on a number of levels. This is not to say that podcasts, blogs and even social networking sites are not quality mediums to communicate with - they can be. The concern is that access to these tools have muddied the waters of quality exposure.

The evidence around new social media is clear - it can be effective if deployed in a strategic way. Unfortunately this has led to the erosion of belief in traditionally effective tools like direct mail, public relations and print. It is crucial to understand that marketing tools - old and new - are only empty vehicles, unless marketers provide the necessary fuel to move these vehicles forward. In this sense, social media can actually be less effective than traditional media if the underlying marcom strategy is weak.

For SMB owners, web 2.0 and social media offers an increasingly affordable method to engage in conversations with customers. The challenge remains however, to communicate in a thoughtful way - regardless of the tool being utilized. In this sense, SMB's and large corporations should not be fooled into thinking that marketing is getting 'easier' - while access to customers may appear to be more widespread, quality communications are more difficult now than ever. The average consumer today (both B2B and B2C) is incredibly savvy, which means that effective messaging needs to be well crafted and engaging.

As a consultant, I see SMB's and large corporations alike struggling to stay abreast of the latest marketing tools and tactics. The concern of being 'left behind' is almost universal in the context of a rapidly changing environment. The key is to remember that strategic thinking and quality messaging is better than empty flash and dazzle. Well constructed direct mail campaigns, intriguing PR stories and thoughtful pieces of marketing can still engage customers in a meaningful way. Marketers must not trick themselves into thinking that social media and web 2.0 has made marketing any easier - but understand that increased access has now paved the way for an ever increasing emphasis on quality not quantity.

As my grandfather always said - " A bad carpenter blames it on the tools..."

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