Social Media Marketing vs. Traditional Marketing

by Vered DeLeeuw

I write a marketing blog for one of my clients, where I often discuss the need to align marketing and sales. The best companies are those where both marketing and sales work in collaboration to find and qualify leads. A company where the marketing organization listens to sales reps and works to bring them the leads they need, and where sales reps keep in line with the company’s messaging as created by marketing, will be more efficient and close more sales.

Recently, I realized for the first time that there’s also a tension between traditional marketing and social media marketing.

Social media marketing is about creating fresh content and basically giving it for free. We publish content on our blogs and on our social media channels, and we allow people access to it, no strings attached. We don’t require registration, we don’t harvest their emails. The focus is not on single campaigns aimed at getting as many leads as possible, but on a long-term relationship.

Of course, the assumption is that in the long run, those relationship WILL contribute to the company’s lead generation efforts. But unlike a contained traditional marketing campaign, where you blast a whitepaper that requires registration to access and can tell exactly how many new emails you got from that campaign, leads generated from a social media ongoing campaign are not as straightforward to measure.

The tension between traditional marketing and social media marketing becomes apparent when the social media marketing people want to use an asset created by the traditional marketing folks. If you’re in a social media mindset, you will tend to simply put the link out there, or to write a blog post based on that whitepaper. But for the traditional marketing people, that would be a disaster! They have worked hard on that asset, and the way they see it, if you just give it away for free in social media, you derail their efforts.

The solution is to respect traditional marketing’s efforts to generate leads. Let them use their assets for as long as they feel necessary. Then when they have used that asset to the maximum and move on to the next asset, you can double check with them, and – with their OK – start giving it for free on social media.

Whitepapers are expensive. Using a whitepaper as the basis for several blog posts is common practice, and it makes sense – after all, it’s a great way to make the most of an expensive asset. But before using a traditional marketing asset in social media, where you give it away for free, do wait until it has been used to the max by the traditional marketing folks.

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