Both Pepsi and Burger King launched ambitious social media campaigns over the past year or so. Yet both of them have seen declines in their business of late. It might be tempting to bury your head in the sand over this, saying that social campaigns were worth it for engagement, response and (perhaps) ROI.

The answer to these claims is equally simple: If those ‘other’ things mattered more to business performance, they should have been the focus of marketing, not entertainment or whatever, wrote Jonathan Salem Baskin. And what good are invented metrics for social campaigns if they don’t evidence any influence on sales There’s no such thing as a successful brand that doesn’t deliver successful marketing, is there In fact, the latter builds the former. They can’t be disconnected, and if social marketing can’t be made responsible for tangible behaviors that matter to the business, not just to ideas about branding, then no made-up measures of its importance matter much at all.

It could be that social campaigns for Old Spice and the Ford Fiesta simply pushed consumers towards a good product, making them more tangibly important to the brand and the consumer. CMOs need to discover new ways to do the old things that still matter: Offer products and services that someone truly needs, admitting that you want to sell stuff to them, and then properly serving them after they’ve given you their business, says Baskin. Sounds so easy as I type it but doing so has gotten so incomprehensibly complicated. Maybe the news coming out of Pepsi and Burger King is a wakeup call that we need to make all of this simpler, not harder. I think it starts with quitting the glib new rationales for avoiding these traditional and difficult challenges. May silly social media R.I.P., and may smart social live to serve businesses better in the future.

Source: Ad Age