Jenny Sussin

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Jenny Sussin
Principal Research Analyst
2 years with Gartner
4 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a princial research analyst in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

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The Gap Between Social Strategy and Execution

by Jenny Sussin  |  October 10, 2012  |  Comments Off

There are two points of view that matter when it comes to social marketing execution: the vision of the strategist and the execution of the LOB professional. Execution should be based on strategy as well all know but frequently the mindsets of these individuals are so far apart that recognizing mutually agreed upon success becomes near impossible. Without taking anything away from the strategist, I hear way too much focus put on strategy and not nearly enough put on how we’re actually going to bring said strategy to fruition. Saying “Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr” in a project plan does not make it an execution plan. If you’ve never been in the position to execute on a social strategy, this may be French to you (unless you speak French, then think of it as Japanese.)

Execution requires specificity: owned properties, timing, planning, content creation, content curation, permissions, cross-teaming, reporting, etc. It is essentially getting it (or you know what) done.

Strategy requires vision and a greater understanding of how the business makes money or saves money so that they can set up the social strategy in a way that impacts the business in one way or the other. Again, I am not taking anything away from the work put into execution; what I am saying is that these are the dominant thoughts in each party’s brain and that is why we have a gap.

So what’s the point? This is something I even look to do for myself I’ll have you know. I didn’t seek to play the role of the strategist although that is where I am if we want to get philosophical about the analyst’s role. I like to execute, I find it to be challenging, stressful, anxiety-provoking and ultimately rewarding. So what I try to do is find a place to do both: get the experience of someone who executes so that I can take on the role of strategist. I think of it this way: if I never took the time to try and understand the pot holes along the way to social execution on behalf of a business (which is vastly different than having your own Twitter handle) how could I possibly offer any realistic advice on strategy to a company who is going to have a former Jenny Sussin sitting there trying to get it done? Strategists: do it yourself first. Understand why you can’t only have one Twitter handle for a multinational corporation. Understand why I’m not going to make a Facebook page for every marketing campaign we run. Understand why it doesn’t make any sense for us to have a corporate Pinterest account.

My buddies who are over there tweeting and blogging and creating 400 Facebook pages: reel it back in. Listen to what the strategist is saying about how your work impacts the corporate image. Stop rolling your eyes when I ask you to use the same every time you post about a new offer on our corporate web site. Understand that your top priorities need to be balanced with everyone else’s.

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