It is the Message, not the Method

“Put. That coffee. Down… Coffee’s for closers only.” from Glengarry Glen Ross

Marketing, business development, client development, advertising, social networking, blogging, direct mail, outbound and inbound marketing, rainmaking, etc. Different terms used to carve out job descriptions and niche consulting practices in the marketing landscape. But isn’t the desired outcome the same – to help close the deal? Or as professional marketers call it, a conversion – no wonder Guy Kawasaki’s title at Apple was Evangelist I read a great article by Amber Naslund at AltitudeBranding.com entitled, Avoiding the Social Media Pigeonhole:

Social media is limited in focus and lifespan. It’s *one* line of application in an otherwise vast business landscape that includes many disciplines, and many approaches to solving the related challenges. That goes for me too. I am first and foremost a communicator, and as I like to say, a constructive heretic. While my role is focused and specialized toward social media, I didn’t seek out a career there. I wanted a career that focused on communication and brand stewardship.

Her point is that marketing and communication is a field and social media is simply a specialization within that field. The established principles and theories of communication are still foundational in social media. Becoming a social media expert should not be the goal – enabling and facilitating communication is the true goal. The message is what is important, not the method of delivery. Although if the method of delivery is not effective, then the message is irrelevant. Elsewhere in ye ole’ blogoshpere, Kevin O’Keefe, the man responsible for getting more attorneys blogging than anyone thought ego would allow, writes about a conference call he participated in. The purpose of the call was preparation for a presentation to attorneys on blogging, social media and Web 2.0. He describes that the discussion devolved into talk about the risks and challenges of lawyers putting their thoughts into the ether of the ever-increasingly indexed and searchable tubes of the internet. His response is the following:

As current bloggers and users of social media, don’t we have the obligation to serve as role models for other legal professionals to follow? There is so much to be gained by lawyers blogging and using other forms of social media. Professional growth. Business growth. Greater access to the law by all. Improving the image of our profession.

He brings up the point that the issues facing lawyers online are the same as offline. The legal and ethical constraints facing law firms in regards to marketing have nothing to do with the medium. If the message is off-point or in bad taste or worse, violates established guidelines, the method won’t matter.