Part one: Are marketers still afraid of the web?

Part two: Are marketers still afraid of the web?

After his successful session at the ADMA Forum, Joseph Jaffe squeezed in a chat with Marketingmag.com.au to give us his thought on why marketers are not ustilising the web as well as they could be and and the role of social media in marketing.

So basically, following the dotcom bust, marketers are still not seeing the web as anything – well, not utilising the web anything more than just banner ads and things like that. Would you agree?

Yeah, I would absolutely agree. In fact my company Crayon recently changed its mission statement or the ‘elevator pitch’ – our key positioning. It used to be just focused on the social media and the conversation, but what we do now is we help brands and companies leverage new media and social media from a strategic standpoint. Our point is that we’re backwards, to answer your question. 

The social media challenge right now is that the market is not predominantly tactics in search of strategy – solutions in search of a non-existent problem. That’s the problem with new media – it has become old media!
I mean look at the demise of Yahoo and AOL and even MSN, the three major portals. They fell into the trap where, from the perspective of the sellers, they were so enamoured and taken with the demise of the 30-second spot that they basically just tried to emulate it. So you can’t reach 80% of the US with three ads on the three networks, but you can put your 30-second spot or find a new home in a new haven on our home page. 

The point is the lack of innovation and creativity has almost become egregious in the new media space – reaching frequency and the branding hangover. The direct marketing hangover is the ad networks, performance based pricing, and the cost per lead and cost acquisition statistics trying to take existing metrics and transpose them or just transplant them into a platform or on to a platform that almost must be thought of as a transformative platform.

Not only is it a better mousetrap, it’s beyond that – it’s a trap that can trap a lion. It’s so much bigger and so much more powerful.

I’ll just give you an example that I often use: take something like an online store front – your online store front is in arguably as important as your offline store front (arguably more important). No problems with rude sales people, no problems with store hours and store closings, no problems with inventory and out of stock, etc.
It is just so much more efficient and effective, but more importantly, you look at msn.com as an e-tailer – people that like this book like that book. The up-sell and the cross-sell that is built into the model, the reviews, the ratings – it’s just profound.

Other than msn.com, eBay and Priceline, why are we not seeing brand interpretations of Amazon and eBay? What Amazon did to Barnes and Noble the book store, like what eBay did – I don’t think there ever was a consumer facing auction or marketplace. The fact is we’re not seeing brand presence in the new media world on a par with some of the e-tailers, but certainly utilised in a transformative way.

Do you think that there’s a danger that marketers will look at a social media platform and go, “Okay, this is the new – this is where we’re going to start our new strategy through,” and in that way, abandoning any other online creative in their executions they could explore?

Interesting question. To the extent that social media is the next bright and shiny new object, then yes. I use the analogy of six-year-olds playing soccer. They all bunch around the ball, they all kick each other’s shins, just blindly kicking at air, and then one person almost by fluke makes contact with the ball and the ball shoots out and then the whole mob follow.

I think the thing is that social media today, if we had to whip out the old report card and judge the level of adoption, implementation and activation across the board from a brand presence and investment stand point, it would be predominantly tactical, and because of that, would be very much focused and very superficial and one dimensional.

I once looked ‘creativity’ up in the dictionary, and the phrase that popped up for me was this idea of ‘productive originality’. It means basically doing things differently and getting a result. Of course, that’s juxtaposed with Einstein’s definition of insanity, ‘doing the same thing only expecting a different result’. So I think creativity is relative.

If we think about creativity in terms of winning an award at Cannes, then who cares. However, if we’re thinking about creativity as in doing business in a more profound way that it creates the ultimate win/win – the end economy which is one where both the consumer and the marketer wins.

There is the creation of value for the consumer and there’s the derivement of value for the marketer, which is it’s not just blind servicing of customers or consumers who don’t return that favour in the form of loyalty or word of mouth or patronage. That’s a very short-lived and one-sided exchange that ultimately is going to lead to a less than satisfactory result.