Social Media the Elephant in the Marketing and Communications Room

We now live in an era where the communication and marketing landscape has been completely turned upside down in both the public and non-profit sectors. Social media has become the elephant in the communications and marketing room and many people who work in communications and marketing are overwhelmed with the changes that are taking place. Personally, I spend many hours keeping up with the innovations that are happening in our field. Sometimes I feel that the tsunami of information is overwhelming but as a consultant you absolutely need to be on top of your profession.  Let’s look at what’s happening out there

There are over 200,000 new blogs being created every day. Bloggers publish over 1.6 million posts per day, or over 18 updates a second[1] . Facebook has surpassed 500 million users! Linked-In is now the world’s largest professional network, with over 75 million users. Twitter, a real-time, public, short messaging platform, is used by well over 150 million people worldwide. There are more pod casts in the world than there are radio stations. The variety of topics covers every niche imaginable. What’s more, the widespread adoption of geo-tagging and location-based mobile services is slowly making the concept of privacy extinct in exchange for just-in-time convenience.

So what do a marketer/ communicator do with all of this stuff going on? Before you consider getting into the social media game in any major way a certain mindset shift has to occur within your organization that caters to transparency, collaboration and participation. This crucial part of the process is all too often being ignored. Instead, organizations are jumping into tactics thinking that social media is merely just another communications channel. That’s a big mistake!

The amount and quality of tools and applications is growing at an incredible pace. This leads to many skeptics not wanting to invest time in any particular tool in case it’s obsolete by next year. However, if this is your thinking then you’re missing the point. By engaging in social media, you’re not investing in the tool, you’re investing in the people behind that tool (i.e. building genuine relationships).  People are real and they are here to stay, no matter which platform they’re using down the road

There are many major changes in the world of marketing and communications, however before public sector and non-profit organizations start developing social media tactics it is important for them to ask some fundamental questions such as: What are the key issues that we are trying to address by engaging in social media? Which channels make the most sense based on our target audience? What is the relevant existing conversations already taking place? How are we going to measure performance? What is our existing digital footprint?” and “How can we get engaged in this new digital space of social media before we become obsolete?”  Too often we see public sector and non-profit organizations launch into social media without first having a strategy developed. Now, you would think by now   marketers and communicators would know that it is important to develop a comprehensive communications or marketing strategy before engaging in tactics. But many organizations are becoming so enamored with social media channels like Facebook, Youtube etc. that they forget that strategy comes before tactics. In addition many organizations are not integrating social media with their traditional marketing communications activities.

To learn more about social media marketing check out Public Sector Marketing 2.0 – Fresh insights on government, association, and non-profit marketing in a Web 2.0 world

Also considering taking  a social media marketing course. Go to the following links

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Also we have included social media marketing into our Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing.


[1] Technorati, 2009


Strategies before Tactics

If you check out our website you will note that our expertise is developing marketing strategies for public sector and non-profit marketers. Now when we started our organization many people told us we were crazy to set up an organization that only focuses on strategies as most public sector and non-profit organizations are looking for tacticians who do market research, advertising and other forms of communications including on-line products.

Well we are in business for close to 5 years and guess what , we found that a lot of public sector and non-profit organizations who need our services. Now it wasn’t always like that. Most of our clients were like most of you. You work in a government or non profit and your boss or internal client wants to see STUFF . Strategies are not STUFF. Websites. brochures, posters, ads, research studies are STUFF. Anyways why would you want to contract someone to help you with your strategy. Good question! But I would ask why hire an architect or engineer to help you design a building or bridge, why not just hire the construction crew and start building. You save a lot of money and you can get your building or bridge up quickly.

Now can you imagine anyone building a bridge or building with out a plan. Of course not, but in our world of marketing and communications we see organizations spending thousands or should I say millions of dollars producing STUFF and rolling it out with out a proper marketing strategy or plan. If you are one of those people shame on you … you should know better. Frankly the best investment a marketer or communicator can make is working with someone who understands the marketing and communications business and can craft a strategy so that your tactics fit into a plan with measurable objectives, segmentation plan, etc.

If I have learned one thing in my career is tactics with out a strategy is a recipe for disaster. More money is wasted on organizations developing marketing communications programs with out the FOUNDATION of a well thought marketing strategy

A good example is the recent phenomena of social media where now everyone is now trying to get involved in social media but as Mike Kujawski our social media expert points out in an article which will be published in a government newsletter next month:

“Clearly we are seeing major changes in the world of marketing and communications, however before government organizations start developing social media tactics it is important for them to ask some fundamental questions such as: What are the key issues that we are trying to address by engaging in social media? Which channels make the most sense based on our target audience? What are the relevant existing conversations already taking place? How are we going to measure performance? What is our employee social media engagement policy?

Too often we see government departments launch into social media without first having a strategy developed addressing the above (among other things). An effective social media strategy follows a very similar process to a well developed marketing strategy. The problem is most organizations within government departments don’t even have the latter.

Many people who work in the communications function of the public sector do not fully understand the marketing concept and how it can help them achieve their goals and objectives. They need to realize that marketing is first and foremost a process that helps organizations attain their objectives as effectively and efficiently as possible.  It follows a specific process and various frameworks (such as the 4P’s) that have been developed over many decades.

Marketing is one of the most misunderstood words in the public sector, often confused with “promotion”, “marketing communications” and in some cases “public relations”.

So this is resolution time being early in the year. This years resolution is you won’t develop any STUFF without a fully developed marketing strategy.

IABC Ottawa presents: Social Marketing Workshop for the Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors

IABC Ottawa presents: Social Marketing Workshop for the Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors

Wednesday, March 4, 2010
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Hampton Inn and Conference Center – 200 Coventry Road

Messages from social marketing programs can affect audiences in unique and profound ways. Putting together a successful plan can feel haphazard, but it doesn’t have to be. IABC’s all-encompassing, interactive one-day workshop will teach participants the most up-to-date techniques and a proven step-by-step process to bring their plans to life.

Led by Jim Mintz, Director of the Centre for Excellence in Public Sector Marketing, this workshop provides the tools to develop a successful, end-to-end social marketing initiative on your own. Mr. Mintz holds diplomas in both Advanced Marketing Management and Advertising and has provided social marketing advice and consultation to a number of countries. As the retired Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications at Health Canada, Jim has held positions in the private sector, federal government and crown corporations. Jim has lectured at many universities across North America sharing his knowledge and experiences as director to numerous social marketing and communications campaigns in health and social issues.

In addition to being privy to Mr. Mintz’s wealth of experience, participants will also receive a comprehensive social marketing workbook to help guide them through the process for creating their own Customized Social Marketing Action Plan. Learn what makes social marketing different from other campaigns and how it can give you a single approach for mobilizing communities, influencing the media, lobbying/advocacy and building strategic alliances with businesses.

Don’t miss your chance to get ahead!

Register Now

MARCOM Professional Development Forum 2010

MARCOM 2010, June 10-11 at Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau, Quebec.

Atlantic Canada Marketing AND Communications Professional Development Program

Posted on December 16, 2009 by jimmintz | Edit

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Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 22-31, 2010