Are you a Specialist or a Generalist?
Great specialists only see their own part of the marketing plan. Great generalists can play their position well and see how their work fits into the overall marketing solution we provide to a client. This way we provide business solutions, not just “digital solutions” or “retail solutions”.
SoMe specialist vs. SoMe generalist
Today I read two articles that show how Social Media, the industry specialty of the moment, is evolving in ways that should interest specialists and generalists alike:
A blogger at Sysomos, a business software company, opined today that while SoMe is a small slice of overall advertising investment, it will someday “rule the advertising roost”, eclipsing all known media except outdoor. Maybe so. Veteran ad people know that the #1 advertising medium cited by consumers as “most reliable” has always been “word of mouth”. SoMe is word of mouth in a publishable form.
Meanwhile, a “social media strategist” at Digitas Health laments her job title because it makes her sound too much like a specialist. “Social media,” says Sarah Larcker, “should really be viewed as an integrated part of the holistic strategy for a brand, not its own independent realm.” Sarah is an excellent example of a specialist-generalist.
We will always need Specialists
There’s no doubt that what we currently call SoMe will continue to be a major force in modern marketing. Everyone’s challenge is exactly what Sarah Larcker proposes, to make SoMe a strategic tool rather than a tactical silo.
We will always need specialists, however. Technology continues to develop daily and someone has to be on top of the changes – it’s a full-time job. New media will continue to evolve and we need specialists to show us how it can work.
The question is how much of a generalist do you aspire to be? You may always have your specialty, but having a big-picture perspective will keep your skills relevant.