Social Media Sends Marketing Back to the Future

Below is an interesting video my wife discovered this morning, and it highlights why continuing education through institutions like SMUG is so important. One of the interesting segments says:

The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010…did not exist in 2004. We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist…using technologies that haven’t been invented…in order to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.

I don’t agree with everything in this video (for instance, how can they know what the top 10 in-demand jobs will be in 2010?), but in general it’s quite thought-provoking.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpEnFwiqdx8]

Here are a few of the thoughts it provokes in me:

At least half of my job as it currently is structured didn’t exist in 2004. My title is “Manager, Syndication and Social Media.” The syndication part, providing medical news content for traditional media, isn’t new. But being a manager for social media (and the fact that we have a social media team at Mayo Clinic) is definitely a more recent development.

The pace of technological change is amazing, but in many ways it reverses some societal trends. Following widespread adoption of radio and TV (the timeframe of which is mentioned in the video) we entered a mass marketing era. Before that time, we were a society of smaller communities, and word of mouth and localized media were the most important ways of disseminating information. But mass media meant advertisers carpet bombed us with their messages because they could, and there was no way for us to really escape.

While in some ways the era of social media seems to be hurtling us toward a wild new world along with other technological innovations, in another sense it reverses some of those 20th century realities.

It’s never been easier for word-of-mouth messages to be distributed. For instance, I have a few hundred Twitter followers who will get a tweet about this blog post. If some of them decide to retweet it, they may pass it to thousands of their followers. And RSS, Facebook and Friendfeed (to name a few) are other ways the message will get distributed. RSS is the oldest of these technologies, and it first became widely available in 2003.

So with hundreds of millions of people able to make their thoughts potentially available to anyone in the world (for free), and with the social media tools making it easier than ever for friends to stay in touch and reconnect (and for people of common interests to congregate, regardless of geography), the mass media aren’t the only game in town anymore. Which is why we continue to see headlines like this one.

Word of mouth is free. As my friend Andy Sernovitz says, “Advertising is the price of being boring.” Or as Seth Godin puts it (I just downloaded one of his audio books), “Small is the new big.”

And that’s why SMUGgles will be ahead of the game; you’re preparing for and adapting to the changes that are happening, and seeing how these new tools can help you solve the problems you face in your work.

What thoughts does this video provoke in you?

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

2 thoughts on “Social Media Sends Marketing Back to the Future”

  1. The video makes me think about all of the people who are wasting the opportunities that we give them because we don’t expect anything of them. Consider our social pathology statistics – most of our prison population, high school dropouts, low-income employees come from single parent homes. We’ve partied and indulged ourselves because it felt good and now we’re essentially writing off a huge portion of our society and expecting nothing more from them than that they keep breathing. Meanwhile, in India and China, they’re grabbing opportunity with both hands.

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