What are New Zealand’s senior managers frightened of?

“If it isn’t broken, don’t fit it”, is the kind of thinking many businesses are glued to which may cause them to miss opportunities that involves marketing technology or a new way of doing business. This “head in the sand” approach is typically taken by senior managers when considering change including the implementation of social media and digital marketing strategies.

Reasons could be;

-          Fear of negative publicity; rapidly building momentum in a forum that seems hard to control.

-         Hard to let go; Social marketing is the new darling of modern business and the easiest way to reach new audiences with brand messages. (Pinterest gained 50 million users in just two and a half years, an audience it took television 75 years to build.) This has left senior executives playing catch-up.

-          Getting fresh eyes; the appointment of external social ambassadors who add personality and humanity. This fear can/or build insecurity due to external services which bring new competencies.

-         Fear of losing control; Using measurement tools that track sales conversions from social posts will demonstrate how social marketing drives revenue, and help cement online influence as the new form of control. Senior executives should stop thinking about what could go wrong, and focus on what can go right!


Business leaders need to accept that the internet has given a voice to millions of people across the world and they can’t be ignored. On the face of it, it’s not hard to put senior executives’ reluctance to take to social platforms down to a fear of making a mistake on a very public, democratic and immediate forum. This fear has less to do with the audience and more to do with the psychology of traditional corporate businesses where for years power and control has been behind closed boardroom doors. In this world marketing was a one-way broadcast of corporate messages, not a conversation.

Social media networks are evolving rapidly, mainly because they are so popular. They are the forum through which many people organise much of their lives and, therefore, give businesses an unprecedented opportunity to engage with customers on a personal and interactive basis. Traditional marketing rules still apply in this new space, but they must be applied in a different way.

Professional social media marketing builds brand evangelists who spread positive recommendations through word of mouth, and brings a corporate brand to life. Social media interaction can give a company a human face, show it is listening to its customers, and disseminate news about product development quickly.  It also gives businesses a wealth of information about customers and their opinions, which means they can act swiftly to head off any negative opinions before they get out of control and last but not least can spread positive news fast.

Concerns among senior management about social media may be driven by the best intentions, but by not embracing this exciting new marketing tool many are missing opportunities, insights and growth!

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