P&G Aimed For Efficiency, Not Free

In marketing circles last week there was a lot of buzz about the layoffs P&G had just announced. You can see for yourself in this Business Insider article what the root cause of the 1,600 pink slips was.

In a nutshell: Digital marketing. To be more specific: Social media.

My heart goes out to those who are now having to figure things out in this still-difficult job market. I also feel badly for those marketers who will mistake P&G’s decision as the proof they need to [continue to] refer to digital marketing–particularly of the Facebook variety–as being free. More efficient? Yes. Free? Far from it.

Marketing in a social environment like Facebook might not require all of the trappings that go along with owning a true piece of site real estate of your own–domain names, hosting, code, traditional search optimization, etc. Especially if you are trying to operate lean and mean–and if you don’t care about people finding you organically in the social network. But the effort it requires to keep a social stream in Facebook populated does not just come out of nowhere. It takes time, inspiration and people. And if you want to stand out from the standard network template–the way these five agency Facebook pages stood out for the team at DigiDay, for instance–rest assured you’re going to need to do some coding. Additional hidden cost with Facebook? They own you. Literally. With the price of free on Facebook comes the need to be flexible enough to react to format changes the Facebook team often pursues with little/no warning. The biggest price of all? The fact that you don’t own any of the data that comes along with your Facebook outpost.

So again, my condolences to the 1,600 at P&G who are no longer at P&G. But my condolences as well to any one who misreads the tea leaves and mistakes digital as being a purely dollar-saving component within their marketing toolkit.

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