Social Media & Internet Marketing experts – Where did they come from?

I could be selling ice to an Eskimo... However I currently have a great Social Media Plan for you!

I found an article last week and decided today was a good day to post my thoughts on the subject.

Prompted by the Internet marketing sales pitch I’ve had to endure hearing at a nearby table while sitting in a Starbucks… both of which I try hard to avoid.

I understand we’re in a tough economy and versatile people survive by adapting. However it always pains me to hear the story of yet another former real estate and/or mortgage broker, agent etc etc… using their background in that industry to justify being and expert in marketing.

The following lines from Peter Shankman’s article on Business Insider, Why I Will Never, Ever Hire A “Social Media Expert” last week sum up his feelings on Social Media Experts pretty well.

No business in the world should want one on their team. They shouldn’t want a guru, rockstar or savant, either. If you have a social media expert on your payroll, you’re wasting your money…

Social media is just another facet of marketing and customer service…

Social media, by itself, will not help you.

I could not agree more and share Peter’s thoughts on not only the above, but that we are following the same cycle we did during and in my opinion after the DotCom boom and bust.

Peter’s article focuses on how the basics of new business generation whether for brick and mortar or Internet businesses is still absolutely dependant on…


Instead I’ll highlight the two basic types currently plying their trade and how differences in background differentiate traditional marketing consultants from social media and Internet marketing experts.

I’ll start by simply shortening how I reference each going forward; Social Media and Internet Marketing Experts (Experts) and Marketing Consultants (Consultants).

Opportunity Knocks

Experts in the marketplace right now typically have a shorter time in the industry for one of two reasons. Many are recent graduates or were laid off from larger marketing firms. The others, being more opportunistic sales people likely had been previously selling real estate or related services and have now coasted into the next “bubble” opportunity.

For the former group it’s about survival… the job didn’t pan out and/or post college dreams are going unfulfilled, so services are offered and ends are met. They understand the basics of marketing and as they gain experience will undoubtedly offer more complete services. Since they are not natural sales people, the term Expert (Guru, Master/Mistress etc) helps secure work beacuse people like to deal with an expert. Many of which will seek and eventually find full-time jobs and stability.

The later group are more typically self titled Experts. Top producers in the real estate boom, the best of them might have quickly started peddling foreclosure counseling and loan modification services immediately following the bubble before moving out of the industry.

Social media had really exploded in the later half of the bubble and our top sales professionals took notice; they build blogs they started MySpace, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook accounts. In a frenzied market they played the numbers game and the ones with the most activity closed the most deals.

As top sellers they had to have been Experts right?

With the real estate market now in ruin they are selling that experience to any business that will pay-per-post. They are experts however only in selling, not in understanding the basics of marketing – like knowing your audience for example.

They’ll build you a fan page, and when all that work doesn’t convert into new sales, they’ll simply say, “Well, we’ll just post more.” – Shankman

As opposed to the above, our Consultant group is a different breed. Sure some may have made some great real estate investments during the boom, however most stuck to honing skills and evaluating new media platforms as they developed.

Like myself many were coming off the DotCom burst having learned a valuable lesson – the basics of business had not changed and would not change going forward, the model just gets new features occasionally. Secondly we learned to diversify.

Web companies started offering other marketing services, ad agencies enhanced digital offerings and PR companies started blogging. All services that were very compartmentalized previously.

During the subsequent real estate boom these companies and consultants gained experience in making new media elements work together with traditional marketing.

Lessons are learned and an industry changes.

Being in the advertising, marketing and public relations industry longer, our Consultant group has more rounded and longterm experience. They are the driving force of the long term changes of our industries.

Experts are seizing a moment right now and will likely move on to other opportunities as this one levels out and the focus becomes quality.


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