It's still about the mix

SimonCommunications, General3 Comments

Another busy week, so little time for blogging I’m afraid, but on the way home today I was thinking about the week the team’s just had.

As a local authority marketing team delivering campaigns for everything from theatres to tips and concerts to children’s services we have to be able to deploy virtually every single tool in the marketer’s toolbox depending on the campaign’s objectives.

The “day job” is about traditional marketing channels – paid-for advertising in newspapers, outdoor advertising, direct mail and the like. Email marketing and effective use of websites is also a core part of virtually every campaign.

New media and social media play an increasingly important part of these campaigns, but they’re not the main focus of our work.

And a lot of the time there’s no established “right way” to use social media as part of the marketing mix for a local authority.

But what’s important is that we try new approaches to social media, be prepared for what could happen and most importantly learn from what happens so that next time around we can use social media (or whatever other tool is appropriate) more effectively.

I’m always looking around at what other councils are doing – particularly with new and social media. We can always learn from what others are doing and the experiences they have.

I’ve also had meetings with a few advertising reps this week – and it’s interesting to hear from them. In particular meetings I’ve had with local newspaper advertising people have just reinforced my belief that the nature of council communications is changing so rapidly.

The role of the local media as an intermediary is declining rapidly thanks to declining circulation figures and social media enabling councils to engage more directly with their residents and other stakeholders.

But that doesn’t mean the end of local media – they’re evolving rapidly and delivering content in different ways, although the options they offer for advertising still have a way to go to catch up with an advertiser’s needs.

That said for the foreseeable future council marketing and communications programmes will still include a wide range of marketing channels to reach their target audiences – contrary to what many social media evangelists will tell you, the future for marketing and communications is about being able to combine traditional and new tools in properly integrated campaigns.

It’s certainly an exciting time to be working in marketing and communications.

3 Comments on “It's still about the mix”

  1. Great post. I agree that it is still about the mix, but I would add that social media used correctly can create a level of transparency that was difficult previously.

    Social media should be about a 2 way conversion rather than simply the publication of latest activity. I see the public sector shifting towards a model based more around engagement over time. Very exciting indeed.

  2. Hi Andy -thanks for the comment.

    I agree that social media will eventually lead to more transparency in organisational communications – and yes, more genuine engagement too as long as there are some cultural changes as well as effective deployment of appropriate technology tools

  3. Hi Simon, I agree totally. Cutural changes are key here. Sadly, public sector will always be open to criticism if a group feel that, in their opinion, public funds have not been spend wisely. This is of course subjective.

    E.g. for those that are familiar with social media, it may be considered wasteful to distribute printed literature whereas the reverse is also true.

    I suspect that softly softly is the way to go, and for now, a mixed approach is the only sensible route.

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