Three years ago, we were talk­ing about mobile and the mobile web. As if it was some­thing sep­a­rate from the Web. It was. Briefly. Now we talk about the Web and it is mobile. The dis­cus­sion has moved on to mobile first and what that means.

His­tory repeats itself. Today we talk about social and the social web. My pre­dic­tion is that in three years we will just talk about the Web and of course it is social. So lets look at our mar­ket­ing his­tory over the past ten years or so — the evo­lu­tion of online mar­ket­ing, the emer­gence of social, and the teams who do it. Where we’ve been. In hopes of under­stand­ing where we (as mar­keters) are going. All together now – this is social.

At the turn of the cen­tury, the early 2000s that is, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and brand mar­ket­ing worked together pri­mar­ily on the brand web­site and online store. Dig­i­tal prop­er­ties tended to be quite sim­ply a dig­i­tal ver­sion of offline mate­ri­als. This was the era of web­site as online brochures and prod­uct cat­a­logues. Mar­ket­ing suc­cess was tracked based on soft met­rics like brand aware­ness and by exten­sion web­site suc­cess was mea­sured in terms of traf­fic or “eye­balls” as we referred to it in Sil­i­con Val­ley. We all know how that turned out.

Then more and more cus­tomers went online and spent their time there. “Social” started to emerge and by the late 2000s, there was a tran­si­tion. Cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and brand mar­ket­ing started work­ing closely together on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. The fun­nel that had been around con­cep­tu­ally for a while could now be mea­sured or at least sam­pled and the insights could be used to drive business.

Social media mar­ket­ing became a part-time real­ity for those one or two peo­ple respon­si­ble for it in addi­tion to their other job respon­si­bil­i­ties. Social cam­paigns were often dis­con­nected from the rest of mar­ket­ing mak­ing coor­di­na­tion and follow-through a chal­lenge. Those who ran social media focused on what they could — soft met­rics such as fans and Likes — which much like brand mar­ket­ing ten years prior, did not imme­di­ately or directly tie to busi­ness results.

Today, or per­haps for some in the very near future, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions and brand mar­ket­ing will merge into a cor­po­rate mar­ket­ing func­tion. They will coor­di­nate closely with a ded­i­cated social media team, which will have a role in all mar­ket­ing cam­paigns. All activ­i­ties, includ­ing social media efforts, will be expected to tie to busi­ness results. There will be ongo­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with a demand mar­ket­ing team focused across dig­i­tal prop­er­ties and across the mar­ket­ing funnel.

There is lit­tle dis­agree­ment on the future of online mar­ket­ing with a holis­tic view of chan­nels and cus­tomer expe­ri­ence. The ques­tion remains how best to get there given from where we’ve come. We have frag­men­ta­tion of every­thing; con­tent, data, roles, bud­get, KPIs. Pre­vi­ously, each mar­ket­ing team made deci­sions in a silo and selected the best tool to do so in the most effi­cient man­ner pos­si­ble. Sen­si­ble, right? So now, most com­pa­nies have many point solu­tions, each with their own con­tent and data. Iden­ti­fy­ing key take­aways requires inte­gra­tions and man­ual analy­sis. Yet, the speed of social dic­tates that mar­keters be aware of cus­tomer sen­ti­ment and trends and be empow­ered to take action in real-time.

How is your mar­ket­ing orga­ni­za­tion chang­ing to meet the new demands of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing (social implied)?

Tatiana Mejia

Adobe CQ prod­uct marketing