Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Social media land grab

Posted by thecastlegroup on October 23, 2009

Did you hear? There’s a big debate on who is best equipped to manage social media, ad agencies or PR firms. Go ahead, Google it – I’m sure there’s some conversation out there.


My take? This needs to stop being an “either or” argument. This land grab for social media assignments has resulted in a host of qualified – and an equal number (if not more) of unqualified – social media “pros” looking a piece of the action. I think my son’s 5th-grade class is seeing a presentation next week from a former creative director who now writes for and has reinvented himself as a social media expert for the middle school universe.

What we are really seeing is the true emergence of the concept and practice of integrated marketing. PR, ad shops, marketing, search and digital firms are shifting toward this blurry middle. No doubt some firms are ahead of others, but there are more “experts” in this new space than is really possible. Building out a social media platform within each of the marketing disciplines as these firms are currently formed seems to me a losing battle.

Mergers, acquisitions, start-ups, niche firms – these are some of the opportunities that can help build the new marketing integration model. Firms that embrace shared services and collaboration, filled with smart thinkers, can also work to deliver optimal client results.

The next couple of years? I see a rise in new model firms and a likely consolidation of the types of firms listed above. Though some firm websites claim to espouse the complete marketing package, wrapped snugly in a social media blanket, I don’t think anyone has really created the next generation marketing communications firm yet. We’re working on it aggressively here at The Castle Group.

What’s your take? Is there a model that gets it right and offers that comprehensive mix of strategy, services and tools?

2 Responses to “Social media land grab”

  1. Jodie said

    I think the in-house team will need to become a bigger, stronger, more sophisticated part of the mix, and that many of the best of the best will end up with more secure in-house jobs. Clients are not going to put up with transient social media “experts” for long.

  2. Interesting observation, Jodie. It seems many in-house teams have shrunk in the last few years; let’s if this trend reverses.

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