This morning, I spoke with a group from the Marketing Executives Networking Group here in Chicago. Their focus areas were all over the map, from financial services to education to CPG, tech, and public relations.
I was, of course, the heretic brought in to talk social media and discuss some of the shifts happening in the business world. But I had a conversation afterward with a gentleman named Don Drews, who heads up a marketing consultancy called Courageous Marketing. He shared with me that he’s going back to school to get his PhD, because he wants to teach marketing. Awesome, I said.
But his question: with all that’s changing, what am I going to teach about marketing?
He’s shining a light on something that we don’t talk about much. We talk about how businesses are evolving, and I even talked a bit about how to hire for social media roles in companies. But how are we preparing the new marketers, the new communicators, for entering the business world as we’re now building it?
This is a hard question for me to answer if we’re comparing it to “traditional” marketing curriculum, because I didn’t focus on communications in school (I majored in music). So I’d be hard pressed to come up with comparisons that are relative.
I do think we need to teach marketers some tenets of social media culture and implementation, including:
- How the balance shift in consumer voice impacts corporate presence online
- Why paying attention and listening is fundamental to social media success, period
- The realities of culture shift, and how they need to be the starting place for many organizations
- The importance of not sticking social media in the marketing silo, but seeding it organization-wide
- Why good branding still matters, and which parts of brand presence you control
Of course, that includes talk about the tactics and execution, but later. After we’ve established a bit of a foundation for the role of social media in business as a whole, right?
But here’s where I need you. These are some of the questions we need to answer:
- What elements of traditional marketing and communications will and should endure along side social media?
- What’s obsolete about our teaching of marketing to date, and how do we evolve it?
- What should we be teaching marketers about social media, irrespective of the tools themselves?
- If you had new minds to shape about the landscape of communications in business as it will look five years from now, what would you want them to come away knowing, believing, and equipped to implement?
Let’s talk about this. This is the seed of some potentially big ideas. What say you?