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Mr. Mark Sneider

The Dangers of Agency New Business Social Media

Social/digital should play a part in any agency's new business development effort, however there are four things an agency principal should consider when building a program.
  • Social media is passive. Just because you are an avid blogger or tweeter, don’t think that all the chips will fall into place without any other effort;
  • Social media easily gets tired. You have to keep content current, fresh, up-to-date;
  • Social media is “no different” than regular media. There are thousands of others doing the same thing, so you have to boldly stand out and consistently be value-added in your messaging;
  • Social media should not be left alone. Social media is sexy and intriguing, but don’t rely on it as the sole means of your prospecting effort.
What lessons have you learned about the use of social media as a new business tool at your agency?
Mark Sneider is Owner President of RSW/US

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Good News Bad News

What you say is true. However, I can't imaging going into a pitch and raining all over the new media parade. Let's face it, clients love it because it's cheap, and we know it's cheap, at least in part, because it's so hard to control that no one will pay for it. That being said, new media is an easy place to experiment and try things with a relatively low down side. That's never a bad thing
Posted by Ms. Mary Lorson (Wednesday, August 19, 2009 9:32 AM)


RE: SOCIAL MEDIA  One thing overlooked in the buzz about the new communication tools- blogging and twitter.  Who reads them.  The people who make the decisions are too busy to be fiddling around reading blogs 90% of which are hot air and twits or whatever you call them.  Both are of much more interest to the sender than anyone else. 
Try to do a check of who is reading each.  My bet is it is the people who really do not have enough to do or should be doing something else. 
Posted by Gary Esterling (Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:21 AM)

There is more misinformation being spread about social media than there is about healthcare reform. "Social media is 'no different' than regular media." ARE YOU KIDDING?? Social media reaches "significantly fewer people" than regular media and surprise, it is "interactive." "Social media is passive." As Barney Frank would say, "On what planet do you spend most of your time?" Come on! It is highly interactive. That is why it exists. If you want to help agencies understand social media, quit putting out misinformation.
Posted by William Bergman (Thursday, August 20, 2009 10:48 AM)

William, you're missing my point.  Social media in and of itself is passive.  Too many people pushing too much stuff out there.  Sooner or later it's all going to be a bunch of white noise.  If an agency is serious about using social media, they can't just throw it out there and hope it sticks, you have to do things to activate it to get it noticed.  I didn't just push out this blog post, I created a white paper off of it, sent it to some key influencers, posted it on my site, pushed out an email to thousands of prospects - that is now getting it posted elsewhere.  It's a process.  To simply say "post it and they will come" is not the way to go.  I respect your opinion, but respectively disagree.
Posted by Mark Sneider (Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:30 AM)

You're both "right"

One of those revealing over-simplifications popped up on twitter yesterday from Matt J Macdonald's blog (


There's a lot of pixels being dedicated to understanding how social performs and how it will evolve. But I think we all agree that marketers must be engaged personally and with a weather eye on the dynamics in order to craft ways to stand out for our clients.

Posted by Chick Foxgrover (Thursday, August 20, 2009 12:29 PM)

The Dangers of Social Media for Ad Agencies?

The greatest danger of Social Media at this time is agencies NOT participating. Where is our industry's creativity and the "outside the box" thinking that we keep talking about? Currently the problem is not agencies and new business consultancies all jumping into social media. The problem has been the lateness in their willingness to participate. Then, when they do, they don’t understand how to use it. They don’t know enough to have an integrated social media strategy and waste a lot of time with no results, become frustrated and don't see the value of the time investment. Rather than banter about the Dangers of Social Media, agencies need to look at its genuine Benefits. I'm thankful for the few rebels out there in our industry who continue to push the envelope for how social media can be used, particularly for agency new business.
Posted by Michael Gass (Thursday, August 20, 2009 12:45 PM)

Social Media - You Have to Feed the Beast

The bottom line is you have to feed the beast, you have to first develop a social media strategy that matches overall goals and objectives. Social Media needs focus and most of all content, relevant content, as a client of Social Media Analysts so eloquently said "you have to feed the beast"

Posted by Jacob R Miles III (Thursday, August 20, 2009 1:39 PM)

With all due respect, Mike, you need to stop applying traditional media principals to "NEW MEDIA". You know, it is called "NEW" for a reason. You cannot "process" spontaneity. Try to start thinking outside of the box. And, how many people downloaded your white paper??????? And, how many people are watching a funny cat video on YouTube??????
Posted by William Bergman (Thursday, August 20, 2009 2:08 PM)

The Dangers of Social Media

Spending my summers in a part of the Maine coast where newspapers aren't in the stores until almost 11am, I've come to rely on the internet. I still read the WSJ, NYtimes, F-T on-line, get my RSS feeds, and plug into the blogs I follow. 
What influences and informs me really hasn't changed much. There's just more of it and I have different ways of getting it. That goes for everything from daily news to how I track wooden boat building.
Whether I choose to "engage" hasn't been altered. How I do it has shifted. 
Much ado about what is already with us. By the way, my wife listens to her favorite Boston radio stations on her computer. It's still radio. 
Posted by Peter G. Osgood (Thursday, August 20, 2009 3:30 PM)

Activate It...And It Shall Come Alive!! my point has been proven. Prior to activating my post on the AAAA's (and on our site) I had only one comment about the Dangers of Social Media. Today I pushed out the AAAA's post to my database of 6k advertising professionals and not only did I get some pretty interesting comments on this site, a request from O'Dwyers to post my piece on their site, and numerous inquiries about our services, but I also received a call from one of those that commented about my post. Had I posted and done nothing...nothing would have happened. I activated, and it came alive. My point everyone is social media can't come alive without an active, aggressive plan. Social media can work, but without a push, it will be lost among the masses of like commentary.
Posted by Mark Sneider (Thursday, August 20, 2009 8:59 PM)

Social media is a tactic to create shared brand experiences.

I wish agency people would step back for a second and see the quantum leap in customer acquisition - and especially brand loyalty - that is happening in three dimensions, not just the tired two dimensions of "brand must engage customer" pablum. The key is to engage your customers with each other around your brand - in a variety of ways but with one differentiating positioning driving it. when your cusomers are engaged with each other - whether through sociasl media networks, live events, water coolor "advertising that gets talked about", collaborative promotions, etc. - then they are least likely to leave your brands because it means leaving their friends. Security in numbers applies in marketing as it does in religion. And the most successful brands usually foster customer-to-customer communication or at least a sense of belonging. Whether it's Red Bull or Hello Kitty, or the most often cited examples of Harley and Apple, fact is those customers are staying with your brand right up to Kool-Aid closing time if played right - differentiate, focus, adjust some details along the way. The Net enabled many-to-many communication, as revolutionary as when Guttenberg's printing press evolved hand-written monk texts and stories passed through generations like a game of telephone into publishing of one to many - creation through collaboration to customization is how new products will develop. You'll feel part of a whole (the brand halo) without losing your individual identity. Of course social media needs a push. So does any tactic...lots of TV spots are presented to clients before one is pushed thru to execution, media is bought, and people are swayed. The difference now is that people sway best and longest when they sway together. I think this discussion is like hikers marking trees in a path through a forest when an aerial view would quickly reveal the best path. Step back for a minute and the minutia becomes just tactics as the obvious and simple is illuminated. The Net did not change fundamental positioning strategy tenets and, until the human brain is re-wired, nothing will usurp positioning strategy as the key from which all tactics - including social media - will emanate. Just my opinion, though one I lifted from Phil Herring's Seattle shop philosophy 15 years ago. Yet agencies continue to react rather than innovate and espouse the most fundamental and critical truths.
Posted by Brian Ribbey (Thursday, August 20, 2009 11:37 PM)

Sending to 6K professionals is an active, aggressive plan???

Glad your "active, aggressive plan" resulted in seven individuals responding--most of whom told you that you don't know what you are talking about. And, a post directed at the ad community is picked up by a PR publication? That is considered a success.
Posted by William Bergman (Friday, August 21, 2009 8:04 AM)

Active and Activate

To be clear, my point is not to NOT use social media, but to make sure you keep it ACTIVE and ACTIVATE it in order to make it work for you.  The DANGER is not getting involved and not keeping and making it active.  It's what we encourage our agency clients to do everyday.  Just yesterday I spoke with two of our clients - one in Chicago and one in Providence - about creating a social program, positioning their social program, and activating their social program via their entire agency new business effort with us.
I think if Mr. Bergman would read my post instead of just screaming, he'd get my point.  I received comments via emails yesterday commending the perspective. 
Posted by Mark Sneider (Friday, August 21, 2009 8:49 AM)

Something to think about

I can see why the initial reaction here is to say, of course social media is not passive, but I reread the post and I see the point-you do have to stick with it and have a plan to get your content out there, besides just throwing it up on a blog, for example. It's undoubtedly hard work. (And what's up with William, starting to get a little personal there. I have to say, if you go back and look, most of the comments are in agreement. Just saying.)
Posted by John Senese (Friday, August 21, 2009 9:43 AM)

Brand stewardship

The question is whether the agency/client team has the perspective, skill and will to ensure that the brand is well expressed and experienced through these new channels for dialog and community building.  Though the technology is sexy, it does nothing for a client if it doesn't support and evolve the brand.  As brand stewards, agencies should be well-positioned to help clients chart a course and navigate these new channels wisely.
Posted by Mary Farrell (Friday, August 21, 2009 1:45 PM)

Amen to that Mary

Right on.
Posted by Mark Sneider (Friday, August 21, 2009 5:13 PM)

Create new and exciting projects for clients

Agencies using social media are creating more channels for promoting their clients brands and even new ways to package advertsing which can double exposure for the same dollars.
for instance, use the client for music/video distribution by actually "building" your own brand artists. The client ends up with a reurn on his investment that will actually pay for the advertising. For instance, client "signs" a new "proven" artist out of the best unsigned artist available, has the artist record orginal music which the client will obtain publishing rights to, puts the artist out of tour with the new product/merch to sell and recoups all the money for the campagin thru sales.
We have several of these deals in the making right now and it is all because of social media such as our websites, linkedin, FB and the ning system. 
Posted by Mrs. Nan Cassidy (Wednesday, August 26, 2009 4:45 PM)

Don't forget that social media can reach many people and fast.

Thanks. It is interesting. Don't forget that social media can reach many people and fast. I don't agree that it is passive, this communication channel can go back and forth, and so you can get comments and feedback constantly.
Best regards,
Tali Schneider , MPH, CHES
Posted by Tali Schneider (Friday, August 28, 2009 8:49 AM)

What's it worth if you're not Coca-Cola or Starbucks?

I think the real trick for agencies is to present Social Media efforts as something worth spending money on. No doubt, there's an interested, targeted audience to talk to in the SM world. Since it's cheap from a media perspective (it doesn't cost anything to build a Facebook page), the investment is TIME. This is TIME agencies can bill for, provided they can present their efforts as contributing to an overall ROI. If you're gonna bill for managing SM, it had better be part of an overall awareness or engagement strategy. This is harder to monetize for smaller, even more premium brands with less-than-global budgets. However, if it's really a key part of the strategy, it can boost results in a more active area of the marketing plan.
Posted by Douglas Briley (Friday, August 28, 2009 12:42 PM)

Agency Success From Social Media

We have an active, more than some-less than others, social media presence and have been fortunate enough to win 14 new clients this year that became aware of us through social media. Our business is up 118% over 2008. In addition, our clients are seeing sales increases when we implement social media into their campaigns. I don't think social media should be part of every campaign, it has to be evaluated just like any other media.
Posted by Jaci Russo (Tuesday, September 01, 2009 9:11 AM)

Thanks for the comment Jaci and impressive social media track record for the agency. I agree with your closing comment-it’s got to be evaluated like any other media. And afterwards has to be nurtured once that “foundation” is built.
Posted by Mark Sneider (Tuesday, September 01, 2009 4:33 PM)

2010 now or never for SMM

Great article. Social media should definitley not be left alone in 2010. Though I have to disagree and say social media not passive.
Posted by Ryan Fortin (Monday, January 18, 2010 1:24 PM)

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