You know how companies hire someone to be the resident “social media expert” or “mobile expert”? Sorry, what year is this? Oh yeah, 2011! Everyone knows how to use Facebook and everyone knows how to use mobile devices.
To shift gears a bit, solid experience in marketing applies no matter what tools you are using. If you’re a social media expert, it’s like being an expert at using a hammer or a screw driver instead of picking up a trade called carpentry. Social media is a tool. I see TV commercials from companies for everything from hair products to beer and they all have Facebook URLs included at the end of their commercials – because that’s where their contests live. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s a solid tactic – but not a self contained strategy. I evangelized the same tactic a few years ago, when I had Molson Coors as a client. Go where the people are. Stop trying so hard to drag the horses to water. It made sense because of how user behavior was trending.
Nevertheless, it’s just one piece of a much larger strategy. A company still has to build customer loyalty and prove their product is superior and that the company has better customer service. It has been the same formula since the beginning of marketing – the tools change but the same overall strategies apply. So hire a good, well rounded, marketing director who knows how to use all the latest tools (i.e. social media).
The same goes for mobile. What is mobile? All of our devices in the next two to three years will have mobile capabilities. As the iPad and other tablets steadily morph into our personal computer of choice, can you really keep calling it a mobile device or can we just simply call them tablets or tablet-computers? Mobile is just the ability for the device to get connectivity anywhere and although phone carriers will bundle a number of devices for you with a mobile phone, it is really just the connectivity you’re paying for.
If I build a mobile optimized web site or web service, is it an app? When building a user experience for these devices, it’s essentially, the same user, just a different device. The same principles of good design and usability still apply. Users will not be fooled by someone who claims to know the experience better than they do. What you need is someone who understands how to design for the user experience, regardless of the device or how it’s connected. So if we all know how to use mobile devices and apps, do you really need a mobile expert?
The point is that we all know how to use Facebook, Twitter and mobile devices and can do so with as much thought as doing the laundry. So what we really need in the digital world, are digital professionals who can take advantage of the latest tools. For the experts out there – find yourselves another title and be careful with the “expert” thing, because what it really implies is that you’ve stopped learning.