PR people and other corporate marketers need to work harder on getting their boards of directors to stop being in denial about social media and the digital world. And the best way of doing that is to show them how much money they are wasting.
The thing is that marketing has become considerably cheaper with the introduction of digital platforms and the ability to have conversations with customers. Or, put it another way, existing budgets can become a lot more efficient and more measureable.
Far too many chairmen, CEO’s, FD’s and board members are still in denial about the digital world. They still believe that social media is for kids and the internet is something that youngsters with time on their hands use to play vacuous games.
I am finding it immensely interesting how a conservative, denialist board can become as excited as toddlers in a toy shop once they have been shown just what the digital world is actually all about.
They marvel at the fact that they can actually have someone in their company talk directly to a prospective customer who visits their website. In real time.
They marvel at the ability of their customer service people to be able to nip problems in the bud instantly.
But most of all, they marvel at the vast amount of money they are able to save by employing technology to not only measure precisely what they are doing but also to give them an equally precise picture of the return on investment of their marketing, PR or advertising spend.
Most boards try and avoid any form of session in which they expect to be “taught” about social media and digital marketing.
So, the trick is to persuade them to give up 45 minutes of their time after one of their board meetings for someone to come in an talk to them about saving money.
When I do these presentations I find that in every case, even the most recalcitrant board members are converted and ever better, I make a lot of friends among corporate PR and marketing people whose jobs suddenly become a lot easier.
Apart from being a corporate marketing analyst, advisor and media commentator, Chris Moerdyk is a former chairman of Bizcommunity. He was head of strategic planning and public affairs for BMW South Africa and spent 16 years in the creative and client service departments of ad agencies, ending up as resident director of Lindsay Smithers-FCB in KwaZulu-Natal. Email Chris on and follow him on Twitter at @chrismoerdyk.
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