Mitch Joel and Jaffe Juice’s Joseph Jaffe squared off yesterday in a podcast that was a good deal of fun. Each agreed they were good friends but that was about all they agreed upon — save for the obligatory strokefest at the end. Mr. Jaffe is a principal at Crayon now owned by Powered and Mr. Joel is president of Twist Image a leading digital shop based in Toronto. Both are published (books, blogs and pods) and practiced “duelists.”
The discussion with which they played pong was “Is social media a discrete marketing practice?” Mr Jaffe says “yes,” Mr. Joel “no.”
The crux of the debate is this: Social media needs to be well integrated into the marketing and digital practices of corporations. Today, it’s not. Mr. Joel says there are smart companies doing so and he’s right. Mr. Jaffe says those companies are the “exception not the rule” and he’s right. Powered is betting that specialized shops – best of breed social shops – will be better positioned to make waves and earn low hanging engagements. Mr. Joel believes that cleanest most likely social successes will come from integrated digital shops, and in the long run that is probably more correct. But his approach is less promotable and less newsworthy. Social media is the haps today. There is demand for it and a social marketing swell surrounding it.
So where is the money in social media? Tweeting buy the pound? Friending by the hundred? In strategy? Yep. Where is the money in the integrated approach? The answer is tweeting by the pound and building websites – a more lucrative approach.
Win by Knockout?
No. Both arguments are very compelling. Mr. Jaffe and Powered CMO Aaron Strout are loudly breaking new ground. (There are supposedly scores of quiet social media agencies in NYC alone.) Mr. Joel gets it for sure, and though his sound bite is not as powerful he will probably have higher margins this year. Were I a marketing director and these two pitching my business, I’m sure the last one to present would win the business.