While working with P&G to develop the Social Media Lab, I am constantly wrestling with the BIG and SMALL issues relating to how the Social Web impacts business, marketing, start-up business models and our lives as individuals. When there is a new set of dynamics that fundamentally shifts how you communicate and do business - how do you ensure that the smaller tests you are doing have BIG learnings that can be reapplied.
So it was interesting to trip onto this thoughtful post from Francois Goussieaux on the nature of how big companies are approaching Social Media.
Part of the problem, as I have described before, is self-inflicted. Many CMO’s know they need to dabble in the space, but that is all they do - run small pilot programs that don’t make a difference. The problem with this approach is that the dynamics of small scale social media programs are very different from large scale social media campaigns. So what may work in large programs will not work in pilot programs and the lessons learned from pilot programs may not be applicable to large scale implementations.
argument sits squarely in the Social Media Lab's backyard. Knowing that big
companies do indeed have trouble making big changes all at once - the
goal of the Lab is to help with baby steps - so the big programs can
I also personally believe that there is no such thing as a social media campaign. Social Media is forcing a fundamental switch in the power center of business and how information, markets and products are created and brought to market. Whether you are a P&G brand or a start-up - the social web impacts how you connect with customers. This is not only about social ads or viral videos. And I sure as heck hope we can come up with better business models for Web2.0 companies than some newer form of banner ad.
That said, how do you run before you can walk?
As I wrestle with the issues of innovation, scalability, customer advocacy and new business models here is a sample of some of the questions currently rattling around in my brain:
- What is the best method for generating true innovation and new business models?
- What is the best way to test & learn smartly and efficiently?
- How do you best build bridges of learning across very different cultural groups - i.e. brands and startups?
- How do you best eliminate the fear of failure to encourage bold creative initiatives?
- When does connecting with the consumer cross the line to icky behavioral targeting vs helpful discovery?
- When are you enabling passionate fans vs exploiting them?
- How do you ensure that neither big business or small start-up leaves the customer in the dust in a rush to the shiny new thing?
- Do test programs help in developing innovative approaches to business or are they simply dabbling? [this applies to start-ups and big business]
- As Social Media is all about relationships and connections - can it even scale authentically to
support a billion dollar business [see peter's post for more]?
I've got lots of questions and some hypothesis grounded in "ya gotta start somewhere", but I am also impatient, so what do you think? How would you generate a big shift?