How the Social Media Really Gets Made at Agencies

Call It the Slide 29 Syndrome.

By Published on .

B.L. Ochman
B.L. Ochman
Advertising, PR, and marketing agencies are rapidly waking up to the fact that they can no longer be competitive without including social and emerging media in the work they propose to clients.

But in many, if not most, agencies, social media is suffering from Slide 29 Syndrome.

That's when an account exec calls the digital gurus and says something like this: "For the past few weeks, we've been working on an RFP that we need to send to the client tomorrow. Please add some social media recommendations to the deck and get it us by COB today."

They say that because they think social media is Twitter and Facebook and that you pretty much just need to throw up a page so you can broadcast your press releases and announcements.

Or, they say: "We don't have much money left in the budget and we need to add some digital to the deck. Send us some ideas we can add to what we've got."

They say that because they need to bill a certain number of hours this week, and they don't want social media to use up too many of them.

And then the digital ideas get added on to the deck -- usually somewhere around Slide 29.

Most CMOs, account managers and project managers in agencies or on the client side still don't have real-world experience using social media and therefore don't understand that:

  • Social media is a way of thinking, not just a set of tools.
  • They don't walk the walk themselves.
  • Emerging media needs to be built into the architecture of a plan, starting from the first brainstorm -- not appended to a finished proposal.
  • Social media is a conversational medium, not a broadcast platform.
  • Companies that don't listen to customers will often be bitten on the ass by them.
  • Emerging media is substantially more measurable than traditional media, but the metrics are different.
  • Social media is not a gimmick, or a substitute for a marketing strategy.

Bonus links:
How to use social media in your PR pitch.

Does social media make PR agencies obsolete?

B.L. Ochman is managing director of emerging media at Proof Integrated Communications and can be found Twittering, at or with her newest venture,
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