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by Peter Kim  |  
November 12, 2008

2009: A year that's looming larger each day for social media. Or is it?

Times are tough. Many people may be looking forward to four years of hope and change, but the realities of a slumping global economy are upon us today. As we conclude budgeting season - or some procrastinating companies are just beginning - social media undoubtedly has received more attention for integration than ever.
On one hand, social media tools can be inexpensive and an effective way to create deep customer relationships. However, they don't scale very well and measurement is a mystery.
On the other, traditional media provide reach and create awareness better than any other tools. However, they can be extremely expensive and many consumers are conditioned to ignore these messages.
So what's next? Is 2009 going to be the year that social media makes it big? Will social be bleeding edge while traditional digital (e.g. search, email, display ads) are leading edge? Or will the current business environment knock social and its experimental nature back a few quarters from adoption, maybe more?

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Peter is Chief Strategy Officer of Dachis Group and a leading advisor on social business. He co-authored the book Social Business By Design and drives global industry discourse at and as @peterkim on Twitter.

Peter has been quoted by media outlets including CNN, CNBC, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal and featured as a speaker at events including SXSW, Web 2.0 Expo, and Dachis Group Social Business Summits.

Peter was previously an analyst at Forrester Research and head of international marketing operations, e-commerce, and digital marketing at PUMA AG. He holds degrees from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania.

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  • by mack collier Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    My guess is that small businesses will be more willing to experiment with SM in 2009, than corporations are. If the economy continues to tank, it's going to be a brave soul that tries to pitch the CEO/CMO on launching an initiative around 'that social media stuff'. Corporations are going to want to still to the tried and true; and easily measured. But I think some small businesses could try out social media out of almost desperation. Many have little to no marketing budgets as it is, so the ability to start using social media with little to no capital investment will be a plus. BTW as a social media consultant, I have actually noticed a sharp uptick in client interest in the last 2-3 months. But obviously it's too early to tell and that could change as companies start budgeting for 2009 now.

  • by Harry Hallman Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    My experience during other recessions is that larger companies are like a deer in headlights during recessions. They are so stuck in their ways that they tend not want to take risks. Of course, some do and they are generally the winners. The good news is that many people within these companies will be pushing for it and most will be turned down. Once the economy gets better, some of these people may be in positions of responsibility and will begin to implement social network marketing. I also see some companies (especially small ones) jumping in without thinking. They will have no strategy and many will fail in their efforts. They will not understand that social network marketing is not about technology but rather it is about people. Many companies have created profiles on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks and then treat them as if they were ads. They are not and they require work to create the ties that bind them to their consumers. That said, I do believe their will be enough enlightened marketers to give social network marketing a boast in 2009. We have seen a lot more interest (not as much action) in learning about social network marketing. It is up to we who practice this subset of marketing to educate and enlighten others.

  • by Lewis Green Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    I suspect that most marketers will continue to deploy traditional strategies and tactics while slowly integrating some social media and social networking tools, mostly blogs and LinkedIn.

  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    I think we will see many skeptics starting to put their foot in the water. With the economy as bad as it is struggling companies might just realize that they have nothing to loose at this point.

  • by Paul Chaney Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    Peter, I can tell you of one company that's embracing the use of social media in 2009, the one I work for. We have little in the way of a marketing budget as it is, and are steering away from direct mail, print ads, etc. to a more stringent online approach which includes blogs, social networking on sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter via many of our staff, including sales, and other forms of content/conversational marketing. I guess I can say for Bizzuka, social media engagement is our primary marketing plan for 2009.

  • by Brett Duncan Wed Nov 12, 2008 via blog

    I think the interest is high, and will continually grow in 2009, simply because a) more and more execs are hearing about social media tactics, and b) more and more execs think its cheap. However, the problem is in how soon returns are expected. In a slumping economy, the execs are going to expect an acceptable ROI within the first quarter of implementation, and when it doesn't happen, they'll can the whole strategy. The great thing about a bad economy is that those who are patient and resolved can make huge strides.

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