Along comes social media and everybody's claiming it's on their turf.
Some advertising people are saying it's just another medium to carry commercial messages. They are the experts.
Those in an integrated marketing practice shout that it's theirs. "We've been saying all along it takes more than advertising. This is just another shiny box on our organization chart."
"Wait a minute," say the public relations people. "Social media is all about relationships. Relations is in our name!"
"Are you kidding? It's different from everything," say some of the digital people. "Social media is digital, which means it's in our ballpark. That's what we do."
So it goes. Perhaps the most transformative change in communications since cave drawings is here, and nobody seems to agree on who's in charge.
Well, the people are in charge, not the professional communicators and persuaders. Social media does have an advertising component. Facebook is making millions on it. It's also true that public relations firms were the first to see the potential in it and how to employ it for their clients. And of course it's digital ---but it's far more than a technique; it has a psychology of its own. And integrated marketers, yes, there's more for you to integrate with.
But in my opinion, one thing remains glaringly true. While communications have changed both quantitatively and qualitatively, the creative energy of the idea will be the key to success, no matter what.
Our opportunities have multiplied with social media. Social media help us listen to our customers, get close to them, help them on a personal basis. And when they're ready to buy, we can be right there with them, to help them make their decisions easier and with confidence. And, yes, persuade them.
That's all advertising, no matter how media may morph.