Whoa! What do you mean they don’t “get it”? They must be mad! Are they insane? Are they still living in the 1990s? They don’t even have an iPhone?
Not everyone travels at the same pace.
Here’s a reality check from conversations and observations with clients who are “not getting it”.
We work in advertising (I use the term as a broad church that includes all our disciplines) and as such we do get it (well, not all – more on that at a later date perhaps). We get it because we have to be in it to win it. Because we are in a service industry where we need to be pro-active and better than the other guy. We have to experiment and get on board ahead of the curve. Because when we talk to our clients, we need to be knowledgeable and helpful so we can advise and guide them appropriately in our trusted advisor positions. That’s why clients pay us.
Clients are busy people. They don’t always get free reign on the interweb like us agency folk and have many more corporate restrictions from an IT or legal perspective. Yes, some clients are still on IE6 (shudder!) so cannot experience web browser excitement like what we can. Yes, some clients are not allowed on Facebook so they’re not as intimate with the joys of Farmville et al. Yes, some clients don’t have iPhones because it’s an expensive bit of kit so may not be as familiar with apps that make lightsaber sounds. Yes, some clients aren’t allowed access to You Tube so can’t watch videos about cats all day. So we can’t assume they know WTF SXSW is, how hashtags work or even that Old Spice guy has hit their radar.
Implication: understand their situation and be a guiding light. They may not be as far down the line as you want or assume.
A lot of clients are versed in advertising, direct and digital (websites, online advertising, search). That’s their sphere of reference. That’s their job description. That’s their 9-5 (and way beyond). They are assessed and rewarded on old-fashioned things such as how their communications contribute to market share, sales, margin, propensity to purchase, ROI, loyalty. There is probably not a budget line for social media so something else has to be sacrificed to trial it. Something else that has an accountable budget that drives or protects market share, sales etc. All of this has to be approved further up the tree; and those people typically have less time or inclination to know about this stuff – back to Observation #1. Until we actually start talking in terms that prick their ears up and make a demonstrable impact on their business performance, terms such as “frands” (jeez, I think I may puke) will go straight to the round file and the poor buggers will be labeled as “another client who doesn’t get it.”
Implication: ground ideas in numbers rather than buzzwords to make social salient.
So what? I know my advertising drives consideration and sales, my DM and email drives targeted response, my search drives me insane as well as lots of conversion, my site helps people and drives to purchase. What does four gazillion tweets and twelvety blog hat tips mean? The so what factor should never be ignored. If I did nothing, would anything ever change? Do I really need a Twitbook?
Implication: deliver insight and implication, not facts and certainly not a shiny twitbook account before due planning and consideration.
Above all, be open, authentic and transparent. Much like we suggest how brands behave in the social space.