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Inside LiNC'15 - Social has Matured. Has Your Digital Strategy Kept Pace?

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

Just when you thought LiNC couldn’t get any better, we decided to kick off day two by bringing on stage Nate Elliott, Vice President, Principal Analyst in B2C Marketing at Forrester Research, to shed some light on the ever-changing – and what he sees as the ever-maturing – social marketing ecosystem we’re all working in today.


forrester.pngElliott opened his remarks with a pretty profound, yet unsettling statement: “Social media is bigger than ever before...but marketers still can’t prove it’s working. It’s time for social media to grow up.” He then went on to talk about how we all instinctively know that social media is a powerful force behind a brand’s marketing efforts, but lingered on the sticking point that, in spite of this belief in the perceived value and impact of social media, a “marketer’s biggest challenge is measurement.” For this reason, Elliott explained, “Marketing executives are losing faith in the value of social media - there is a tremendous gap between what social media practitioners and their managers think.”


So then, how can we harness the power of social media – and actually prove that it’s working? Elliott suggested that we go back to basics and actually think about what we need social media to do for our brands. In fact, he believes you have to break it down in the following ways:


  1. Social Reach Marketing: Helping people discover your brand and then guiding them onto the next stage of their journey where they can explore your brand in greater detail.
  2. Social Depth Marketing: Helping people learn more about your brand and its unique value proposition – and, if all goes well, working hard to close the sale. 
  3. Social Relationship Marketing: Making it possible (and easy) for people to ask questions or engage with your brand in a positive, on-going way once you’ve closed the sale.


DSC_3086_1.jpgNow, as much as we’d all like to believe that our social marketing efforts can tick each of those boxes, Elliott cautioned, “Each social initiative you create needs to focus on only one of the three objectives above.” So to keep things focused – and to help ensure the measurability of any social marketing tactics – Elliott urged everyone in the audience to be proactive in “growing up” their social marketing programs by following these simple (yet wise) words of advice:


  1. Start by studying audience behaviors and preferences
  2. Define real and clear business objectives
  3. Align social programs to non-social marketing program


It’s safe to say that everyone was taking notes – but, more importantly, it gave us all a moment of pause to think about what we can do to make our social marketing efforts work harder for the brands we represent. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting back to basics. Though, in a major shout out to Lithium, Elliott stated loud and clear, “Branded communities can’t close sales if you don’t build them,” at which point the entire audience erupted into cheers that were easily heard all the way onto the surrounding streets of San Francisco. (Though, we can’t blame him – the truth is the truth!)


If you’d like to read more about Nate’s thoughts, check out the interview he did with AdWeek here.


 If you are a customer, partner or attended the event, you can view a video of the keynote here.


All in all, an incredible and insightful way to kick off day two of LiNC'15!

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