Making Sense of Social Marketology
After spending several weeks with Ric Dragon’s new book, Social Marketology, I must confess I’m baffled. My apologies, dear Reader. But even my computer’s spell check feature finds “marketology” unfathomable.
Despite the profession in its subtitle – Improve Your Social Media Processes and Get Customers to Stay Forever – I remain puzzled as to the appropriate audience for this book, which makes it difficult to recommend to social media practitioners or marketing folks, whether in small business, corporate or nonprofit settings.
I’ve read quite an assortment of social media books over the past two years (thanks to SMC’s Book Club), and they typically fall into one of two groups: heavy on strategy/light on tactics or limited strategy/detailed tactical approach. Social Marketology belongs in neither, really.
The author assumes readers have a marketing background, which doesn’t make the book ideal for beginners. Yet there’s also a sense of being in a Marketing 101 course. Many chapters offer historical perspectives on marketing, more than a few dating back to the turn of the last century. At one point, we’re treated to an English proverb from 1713.
When it works well – in a chapter on influencers – the author does an excellent job of choosing research that’s relevant to the work of today’s social media managers. However, in most chapters these examples are rarely tied together with the social media subject matter and frequently they’ve been made irrelevant by Internet- and social-era practices.
In a similar vein, there is copious quoting of social media experts. It’s nice to hear about real social programs, but they’re shared in snippets – like the short sections on dealing with trolls and keyword research – with no explanation for implementing them in your own program. While I applaud the attributions, there’s little extrapolation: The author doesn’t seem to have a thesis of his own.
There’s an obtuse graphic that leads off every chapter that I defy anyone to interpret. It’s about as vague as a line like this: “Vision should be grand as well as fuzzy, and possibly even audacious.”
And, in terms of creating clarity and flow for the reader, the editor has allowed some whoppers to slip through. In the foreword, before the reader even arrives at the numbered pages, the guest writer (an executive vice president of a major PR firm) confuses “than” and “then.” It’s the first of many errors that make the text disjointed and difficult to follow.
What can I say, kind Reader, except to gently suggest that there are other books on social media marketing (many reviewed here on this site) that will provide you with a clearer sense of how to approach both the strategic and the practical.