After all, isn't almost everything we humans do both social and mediated? If social [media] marketing is based on natural behaviors, and yet simultaneously evocative of something new and techno-futuristic, then how to reasonably approach that in a book?
CEO of Kingston, NY-based Dragon Search, Ric Dragon, rises to that task, gracefully weaving established tenets of marketing theory into our contemporary moment, introducing the “social” approach as a continuation of that which has always been of top-level concern for the executive board and CMO's: namely, adding value to stakeholders.
Thus, it is no surprise that time-tested concepts like “customer segmentation,” “organizational culture,” “branding,” “monitoring” and “executive vision” populate the book, except this time they are put into relief by a new paradigm that has us injecting more social purpose into to our post-millenial bottom lines.
It's a clever approach in that Ric Dragon marries the best of social marketing theory with a sharp reader on project and organizational management, fitting all the new concepts into place where an MBA educated reader might hope to find them.
The book pretty much assumes you already want to go social and avoids hitting too many evangelical notes, instead proceeding to offer honest-to-goodness information that helps break social marketing down to its bare governing laws and principles. The book is packed to the brim with different analytical dimensions and typologies: kinds of efforts, types of patterns, and platforms, communication and voice styles.
The book loves to reduce all the complexity to bare essences and explicate them like a college introductory textbook. At under 200 pages, you can whip through the book fairly quickly or use it like a resource, like when you are writing a social marketing proposal or presentation that might not be covering enough territory.
By making “business processes” one the focal points of social marketing practice, the author subtly invites the executive reader to retroactively work with what already exists in the company, on the off chance that other departments and team members in the organization are ready to add value.
Speaking squarely to the manager who must work with heavy, entrenched forces, Ric Dragon wants the reader to search, tweak, awaken, inspire with the cards you've been dealt. And there is an exciting beauty in that process.
Chapter 9, titled “Managing Cats: herding the social media team” reads like an organizational manual on how to manage a team working on a a big social media plan. Again, it's quite practical at the top-level of strategy.
What we don't have so much in this book is an encyclopedia of fantastic platforms and cool new things to try for the sake of trying them. It sidesteps the “social media as toolbox” genre of book that bulges with inspiring, tactics, tricks, use-cases and one-size-fits-all strategies.
This book is a must read for those who want to expand, push and grow their organization's marketing effort to the next level, but must first shift around some heavy, entrenched moving parts that threaten to squelch disruptive change before it has a chance.
Creativity, passion, voice, adaptability and vision are aspects of a social marketing strategy that are sold separately to the book. But first "Social Marketology" wants to make sure that a business would even know what to do with those elements if they were given away for free.