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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Integration Amid Disruption: In Social Media and Mobile Media, The Battles May Be Different, But The *Mission* Is Exactly The Same.

300_460 There’s a lot to love about marketing in a world where everyone has a voice (Social Media) and everything is accessible from magical little devices that fit in the palms of our hands (Mobile Media).

And marketers who advocate for social or mobile technologies (or both!) are indeed fighting a common mission, which is to say: Integration of these Disruptive Media into the Marketing Mix.

After all, we're rallying our companies, clients and industries around the business case of integrating these game-changing media, we're arguing the overwhelming ROI potential of these tools, we're imploring our executives to not only institute new technologies but altogether new marketing practices, and we're pushing professionals to open their minds on how the world around them is changing... and how they must change, too.

But while our mission is the same for these media, the battles (and obstacles) are quite different. With social media, the battle is for common *ACCEPTANCE* from the corporate community that these "social" tools mean business. And with mobile media, the battle is for common *STANDARDS* from the mobile industry so as to more efficiently use these mobile tools to advance our businesses.

Marketers who have trumpeted such social media merits as transparency, authenticity and sharing to their executive committees understand this battle well. Further, they well understand the fear, uncertainty and doubt stemming from the boardrooms that they're pushing to get on board. Along the same battle lines, marketers working to migrate executives to mobile approaches understand the obstacles of a still nascent industry where the main players are competing tooth-and-nail to dominate the sector... and thus, none of them, or their platforms!, play particularly well with one another.

I’m not just speaking of the diversity of competing smartphone platforms in the U.S.—because while the U.S. is now 270 million strong for mobile phone subscribers, the real numbers are global with 3.8 BILLION subscribers, and ballooning to a projected 5.8 billion subscribers three years from now (with estimates citing 29% of those subscribers using smartphones). Thus, to plan marketing programs around the myriad of mobile platforms, both domestic and international, is nothing short of dizzying for today's marketers. Plus, marketers have to factor in that the operating systems from some of the *same* mobile phone developers (like BlackBerry and, shortly, Windows 7) aren't compatible with earlier releases. A moving mobile target if ever there was one.

And for marketers looking to leverage MMS so as to provide dynamic features to their campaigns, like voice, video and graphics, over static-text SMS alerts find they've just added yet another obstaclegiven it's not just the platforms to plan for, but also the carriers. Yep, mobile subscribers using the very same make and model of phones, but who are using different carriers, can't always get the same message. In a word? Frustrating. Given two words I would be tempted to modify with an expletive (so best I stay ladylike and stick to one!).

300 And lest we not forget the battle I'm forever fighting with B2B companies (not just B2C companies) to integrate these new technologies into their marketing plans. Because even though the value proposition of marketing with social media and mobile media to engage enterprise audiences is enormous, ironically this is not yet been fully recognized by the very companies who court these target segments. But, just as with these disruptive media, that's a battle for which I enlisted, so I knew what I was getting myself into. (And it's an exciting crusade to be a part of and fascinating to watch more B2Bs progress in using these technologies.)

All that said and all the growing pains of this disruptive era aside, the point is the *mission*.  And these media, and the many battles they bring to bear, are well worth fighting. So keep battling, marketers. Because these media are not only the future, they’re the NOW.

And should you ever feel a little bruised from the battle? It's nothing compared to what the guy up there on the right endured.

Wait, there's plenty more!: While this post is centered on the internal battles we marketers face with companies and industry (vs. customer-focused), our *goal* in marketing to our customers with both social and mobile technologies are also exactly the same: find out more at this post. And for a 10-Step Starter Guide in B2B Mobile marketing, just go here.

Cited Stats: All stats referenced above are drawn from either here or here.

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