Social Media and Marketing Synonymous? I Don’t Think So!

“Social media and marketing have become synonymous over the years.” – Brian Solis

I recently read this comment on the blog of a very prominent social media guru, and it made me cringe. Why? Because social media is *not* synonymous with marketing. Nor is advertising synonymous with marketing. Or PR synonymous with marketing. Over the years, I’ve gotten used to (kind of…) the interchanging of the terms “marketing” and “advertising.” I’ve given up (pretty much…) correcting the misuse of the term “marketing” when what is really being talked about is “advertising.”

But social media and marketing synonymous? Come on. I can’t let that go.

It’s not just about semantics (IMO). I really believe that too many marketers, in both small and large business settings, are less successful than they might otherwise be because they take a narrow, tactic-oriented approach to what they call “marketing” rather than the broad, organizational approach that “real marketing” actually encompasses.

Marketing encompasses product, price, place, and promotion. Not just promotion, and certainly not just social media. Success for those who call themselves “marketers” (who are often, actually, “communicators”) really requires the ability to become engaged – or at least knowledgeable about! – the broader spectrum of issues that impact sales.


  • What product/service attributes appeal to customers? What attributes need to be changed/improved/eliminated?
  • Is your product priced appropriately given its perceived value among your target audience?
  • If you offer a service, are all of the service delivery elements aligned to deliver a consistent, quality experience at every one of your customer touchpoints?
  • Do interested customers have easy, convenient access to your products/services?
  • And, yes, of course – do they know about your product/service and understand its unique benefits from their POV?


ALL of these elements go into effective marketing: a product that people want and value, at a price point commensurate with that value, available at a place and time convenient to them and communicated about in the right places at the right times with the right language and images to attract their attention.

Social media and marketing synonymous? I don’t think so!

Brian Solis probably knows a lot more about “new media” than I do – at least that’s what his blog and followers would seem to suggest. He doesn’t, though—IMO— seem to understand marketing.


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