Marketers embraced the potential of social media early on. Why not? First, there was the generational/technology hook. Most technology innovations are adopted earliest by young people. And, lo and behold, young people are a great marketing audience because sooner or later they grow up and spend. Which brings to the real motivation behind marketers’ interest in social media – money. It makes the (marketing) world go ’round!

If you’ve been around a while, you’ll have noticed a couple of trends in how marketers have viewed an embraced social media:

Five to seven years ago, there was a lot of talk about Social Media ROI. Tangible, number-oriented results that we could use to prove value to executives. So they’d fund more marketing.

More recently, we’ve seen marketers embracing the ‘soft side’ of marketing with social media – The human to human interaction, conversational activity between businesses, brands and consumers, and touchy/feely stuff like building relationships that lead to loyalty.

So you may be thinking that we are arguing an issue of semantics here, but I think not. I put forth this rationale for citing the distinction: Marketing is the process of promoting goods and services for the purpose of discovery by consumers. Social media is technology platforms that enable interconnection and communication. See the distinction? A tool does not make the process, or influence the intended result. Take this analogy: If you own a car, it doesn’t make you ready to race in the Daytona 500.

Thanks to @VinceSkolny for coining the phrase that is the title of this week’s #SMXChat and for inspiring my thoughts on the topic.

Q1) What has drawn marketers to social media? What keeps them there?

Q2) Do you think brand marketers use social media appropriately? Effectively?

Q3) How do you suppose the idea of ‘Social Media Marketing’ originated?

Q4) As a marketer, how much emphasis do you place on social media?

Q5) Do you think social media might someday make marketing obsolete?