March 20, 2009

Social Media Experts: Would You Accept This Challenge?

A $100,000,000 brand that generates $7,000,000 of pre-tax profit offers you a challenge.
  • You will quit whatever job you have, and you will work for free for one year. You will also pay the company a $5,000 non-refundable deposit.
  • You get to implement whatever social media marketing program you want to implement. No strings, no interference, you're the boss.
  • At the end of twelve months, you and the company get to split all of the profit generated by your marketing program, 50% / 50%.
Do you quit your job, pay the non-refundable deposit, and accept this challenge?

If you're a social media expert, and you truly believe in your field of study, and you answer "no", please explain your answer. Under what terms would you say "yes"?


  1. It depends on the nature/type of the business... some businesses lend themselves to improved social media execution better than others.

  2. Anonymous2:17 PM

    I think it would also depend on how far the company is willing to go with their "no interference" commitment. Such a big brand must have some brand and legal guidelines... and, of course, limited budgets!

    I would also like to know what is the company's end goal.

    But an interesting proposition nonetheless. I would do it for the experience rather than profit because so far social media has yet to deliver a clear business model + one would have to define profit and attribution (oh I'm so boring with all this detail on a Friday night).


  3. Anonymous11:32 AM

    This sounds eerily like those wonderful multi-level marketing opportunities...

    Seriously, I think more disclosure is necessary, particularly with regard to brand and marketing strategy.

  4. What is interesting is that social media experts have no problem pontificating about how big brands should or "must" execute a social media strategy. It's easy to have that point of view when it is somebody else's brand and somebody else's pocketbook that is at stake.

    When a hypothetical situation is offered, one where the social media expert puts money at risk, all of a sudden people need to know details and facts and get really cautious.

    And that's the point of this exercise. It's amazing how quick social media experts are to blast others and demand that others execute various strategies, especially when there is no cost to the social media expert. Put the cost on the social media expert, and the pace of change "changes".

  5. Provided the Co./brand has an active ecommerce solution we can help. I would need the support of the organization and some commitment on behalf of the Co. to start the initiative, however at some point the program would become viral. Our platform was developed to provide measurable returns, so it will be easy to quantify and therefore compensate me/Pipit Interactive. When do we meet?

  6. Kevin -- all you've done is proven that consulting is a thankless job... all while painting with a very broad brush. Congratulations.

    I have seen very few social media consulting opportunities where companies demand immediate ROI from immediate e-commerce. Projects tend to be more along the lines of the following: improved customer/community engagement, increasing customer satisfaction #s, establishing a presence on social networks, internal operating efficiencies using things like collaborative blogs, etc.

    As for your ambiguous challenge... let's say you are talking about a industrial equipment company like Caterpillar. Would you set up a social strategy for them? Doubtful.

    Details matter and they influence tactics.

    Childish post/point here Kevin... your thoughts are typically a lot better than this.

  7. Well, I do appreciate your comments, Chris, and can see your point of view, and do appreciate it.

    Hopefully, you can see that there are multiple sides to a story, and that doesn't require the reader to demean the author on the author's own blog.

  8. Didn't mean to demean you Kevin... but I thought you took out an entire industry and perhaps I overreacted. Keep up the great work.

  9. No worries --- everybody should be allowed to have a different point of view, and I don't mind differences being aired here.

    Maybe I've read one too many of the Social Media SmartBriefs lately!

  10. For those of you who were offended by this, my objective was not to offend, but to just get us to think.

    So there are valid points ... is the payback period a year, or is it five years? How do you measure ROI? Who would measure ROI? Maybe there's no ROI, but you have to do this stuff anyway, right? Does this stuff work for every company, or are there only some companies that benefit a lot while other companies keep customers happy but don't generate additional sales and profit?

    These discussions are not happening as often as they could happen. And yet, these issues are a lot more important than "nine reasons why your CEO should blog" or "Dell made $1,000,000 on Twitter" or "all of the twitterati were at last week's conference".

    So that's what I was trying to accomplish.

    So that's the purpose behind this post --- getting away from the hype and headlines, and getting each person to think about whether they would work for free in exchange for a huge social media upside. Because if the upside exists, of course you'd work for free.

  11. Along the same lines, what is the ROI for customer satisfaction? perception? improved brand affinity/image? trade show attendance/sponsorship?

    A lot of activities in corporate marketing don't demand an immediate or even necessarily measurable ROI. Other types of metrics are, however, measured. When I was in Corporate America, I didn't agree with it either... but corporations spend a lot of time/money/resources on things like customer satisfaction, perception, image, etc.

    Social media has more in common with these than with say lead generation programs or other types of things where ROI is almost immediately measurable and it's the #1 metric you're looking to drive.

  12. I'll address this from a more holistic point of view in a new post that is released late today. Thank you for your feedback.

  13. awesome post, kevin.

    i didn't hear a single strong "yes" yet.




Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Best Practices? Probably Not. Sold Out? Yeah!

From time to time I share information with you from the fish monger in downtown Phoenix. And I know you'll tell me that they're a sm...