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Monday, September 21, 2009

What Really Matters in Business

Sep/21/09 08:50 While the promise of social media continues to create a frenzy, a growing number of industry thought leaders are sorting out the proper place in the marketing food chain for this exciting new form of communications. There is no doubt social media represents new and varied opportunities for brands to engage their customers. Those among us with a bit of gray in our hair recall that it isn’t the media itself that makes the story. Our friend Ted Simon posits that this discussion is too tactical in nature as media, social or traditional, are merely channels, and that the real discussion and value is in defining the message or story and ensuring it drives business objectives. Communications is best when it tells a story and that story reflects a brand’s true attributes and supports its business objectives as opposed to frivolous, ad hoc messages haphazardly distributed with the hope that they reach a friendly ear. The executive suite still assesses business not by the number of followers the company has, but by valuation, sales, revenue and operating income. It is crucial that communications support these metrics. Measuring by followers, media clips, impressions and press releases falls far short since they are all calculations of activity not bottom line impact. It is important to take an agnostic approach to media, evaluating the merits of all media channels and tools based on their ability to deliver the right message to the right audiences in the right context to achieve business goals. Social and traditional media intersect and interact, each contributing to the other. Marketers are wise to recognize this interdependence and embrace both, evaluating the efficacy of specific channels of communication as it relates to the business needs of the brand.

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