I recently read this BizReport article which states “90% of marketers not trained in marketing performance, ROI.” To me what this article, at its core, seems to encapsulate is how the marketing industry is in flux. Prior to the last decade, marketing has changed very little since the Mad Men glory days of advertising. While technology advanced dramatically, marketing did not. These new technologies were incorporated into preexisting models. TV fell to the pre-established model for radio, email to postal mail models, and websites to physical locations and their billboards. “Tried and true” marketing methods were exactly that. What was learned could be taught and used again.

With the introduction of social media, we have seen a shift. While many marketers have tried pressing social media into the pre-existing molds, they have found little success at this. Social media is a phenomena which is utterly unique in that the usage and the need had not existed in any similar form prior. The closest one could point to, at least at the birth of social media, were blogs and chat rooms. There was even a time when twitter referred to itself as “micro-blogging.” What we have found in the maturation of social media is how unlike blogging and chat rooms it actually is. Blogging stands in the mold of newspapers and magazines, as articles. Wether personal or business, at the heart of any written blog is a persuasive slant. Chat rooms on the other hand served the purpose of realtime conversation (and arguing). What purpose does social media serve? What instinct does it arouse in us? Why do we feel inclined to share photos of lunch and our frustrations with traffic?

My point here being: we are still learning about social media and what function it will serve in the long term, if any at all. Millions, if not billions, of dollars have been poured into learning how to leverage social media effectively for marketing purposes. Many successful models have been discovered but there is no definitive model by which one can generalize. This is the flux that I speak of. Marketing professionals are still scampering to understand this new medium while the people most informed of social media lack a professional marketing background. The market of marketing (at least 90% of it) is flooded with “social media gurus”, none of which have any training in established marketing concepts such as ROI (Return on Investment). This is not necessarily a bad thing. With change comes innovation. With time we will see the two groups (marketing professionals & social media experts) move toward each other until finally becoming the same group.

Much of this is what makes it such an exciting time to be in marketing. We’ve been sitting in the offices at Touch, asking ourselves a lot of questions. What is marketing now? What does it really take to succeed? Which concepts hold true? And it is with these questions that we begin this blog. It is with these questions that we begin our experiment. Rather than starting from a place of presumed knowledge, we choose to start from a place of ignorance. What can we learn? What can we test? That’s what this blog will be: a conversation; a journal of our learning process. We plan to read many of the professedly great books on marketing as well as any blogs and articles that we stumble across in the process. We will discuss them here and we will test them here. Can what we learn teach us to promote this blog itself? Can it teach us ways to make Touch successful? Are the things we learn things that we can teach to others? Let’s find out. I hope that you will join us and I hope that you will contribute, comment & challenge us in this grand experiment.