Mythbusting in the Social Media Echochamber

Marketing Directions: There is more than one right choiceAs a marketer it may be difficult to believe, but marketing is not a business objective.

Marketing must maintain or advance the business in order to be valuable and there is no single right way to do this.

Unfortunately, when ideas need to be encapsulated in 140 characters or forced into a list post template, marketers end up talking about a path instead of how to select the right path or uncover new innovative solutions.

Here are three recent examples that have been widely shared in B2B and social media discussions. Add your own in the comments below!

The Social CMO

Just because successful businesses have CMOs with strong social media profiles doesn’t mean the social media engagement and knowledge of the CMO is the reason for their success.

  1. Correlation is not causation. Arguing that businesses with Social CMOs are more successful just establishes correlation.
  2. Who really wants to hear from CMOs that are not successfully moving their company forward?

In most cases, the business success and profile of the company is the likely reason for the CMO’s influence or recognition in social media, not the other way around.

Do you want a social CMO or a CMO that moves your business forward?

The Social Business

According to the social media echochamber, every business must become a social business. If you are not a social business, soon you will be out of business.

The business that will be out of business soon is the one that cannot generate cash, does not have sufficient cash in the bank and cannot restructure its business to begin generating cash.

Can a social business model help your business do this? Maybe. But it isn’t the solution, it is just one of many possible paths.

Many investors and executives that specialize in turning around struggling companies take the opposite path. They come in as company dictators and make drastic changes in order to drive dramatic improvements in results.

Do you want a social business or a successful business?


Every brand needs to engage the audience? I don’t want to engage with Coca-Cola, despite some of the great things they are doing in content marketing, and a certainly don’t want to engage with Charmin or Crest.

In order to deliver a message or make an impression, you need attention. Engagement is just one of many possible ways get attention. More obnoxious and disruptive billboards on the side of the highway can also get your attention. Great television ads can get your attention (anyone remember Betty White’s ad for a candy bar in the Super Bowl?).

Do you want to engage or do you want to change your audience’s perception of your category, company or solution?


Innovation requires breaking the mold. As the social media echochamber positions a solution as if it is the ultimate destination, we miss the opportunity to break from the mold, refocus on the real objectives and discover a new path.

So step back for a moment, identify your ultimate objectives and reconsider the assumptions you have about how to get there. There is always more than one path.

Your Turn

What other advice from the social media echochamber positions the path as if it is the ultimate destination? Share your favorite examples in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Photo credit: The road more traveled by Simon G on Flickr

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  • I enjoyed this post, Eric. To continue the thought, any marketing ‘strategy’ requires tight integration into all aspects of the business. The ‘culture’, so to speak. Company culture is the ultimate test of integration. Associates, audience and communites that ‘live’ the brand and the message are the ultimate goal in integrated marketing. Social or not.

  • geofflivingston

    If you drink the kool-aid, you drown in it. You have to see beyond the noise and look at actual levers…

  • Eric,

    I like your “contrarian” approach. Just because social media has become so pervasive, does not mean it will solve all the worlds or a business’s problems. Just because some SoMe experts proclaim it to be so, does not make it so.

    Much more important is what you call disruption. And, that can apply to most any form of media or communication. Billboards, TV ads, magazine ads, SoMe, etc. In order to communicate with your audience (target market) you need to be where they are, not the other way around.

    And, as Geoff said, if you drink the Cool Aid, you may drown in it.


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