This is the first is a series of posts on this post. More to come.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
I could think of no truer statement to define the climate around how to appropriately set and manage expectations within the current marketing paradigm. The field of marketing has changed so much over a 5, 10 or 20 year period. It seems like every day, brand marketing teams are spending more and more time trying to keep their industry knowledge current. The pace of change accelerates more and more each year. However, at the end of the day, the essence of marketing remains unchanged. How can that be? Tactical approaches, media channels and technologies will changed over time, but the fundamentals of marketing will remain. Setting and managing expectations around a marketing campaign speaks to the fundamental level of marketing.
Setting and managing expectations is a concept that is not only fundamental to success in marketing, but it is also a concept fundamental to success in many other facets of life. In interpersonal relationships, any type of relationship, if two people are unaligned in their thoughts processes, perceptions and behaviors, there’s not likely to be a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship. If you are learning to play golf, it is highly unlikely that you will be as good as Tiger Woods in two weeks of practice and competition. If you’re learning to play the piano, don’t expect to be on the same level as Beethoven in short order. Some of you may be laughing at these examples, and that’s perfectly normal. I’m sharing them because there are many marketers who think that their presence on social media sites and a new promotional campaign will increase market share dramatically in very short order. For the most part, setting those sorts of expectations will only lead to disappointment and failure in the social media space. Disappointment and failure of a single campaign in social media could lead to a business abandoning social media efforts, which would be incorrect analysis in this day and age. Abandoning social media efforts would lead to long term negative brand and financial statement consequences, since it is clear by now that social media has drastically altered the marketing communications process.
How can expectations be set & managed best with regard to using social media in business? It’s a complex answer, which is why we are using multiple blog posts to attempt to find the answer. The best results come from a well reasoned and steady approach, rooted in solid fundamentals.