Marketing has traditionally been a two-pronged attack on your mind and your wallet, designed to find the most effective ways to reach your mind, and get you to part with your money.

The techniques used to identify who to go after, how to go after them, and why this message will work drives a social media campaign as much as it does an old-school marketing campaign. The traditional layers in this model are targeting and messaging.

What is interesting is that the emergence of social media has turned a two-layer model into a three-layer model. The third layer has always been there, it just hasn’t been large enough to matter to anyone until the last 2-3 years.

The navel-gazing that is occurring in the social media marketing community is due to the rise of this third layer, the layer that is concerned with communicating.

This is not the communications that so many organizations confuse with branding.

This is the communication that focuses on the best way to isolate conversations, identify engaged audiences, and participate in communities.


The science of marketing lives here. Demographics are the foundation of the targeting phase of any marketing campaign. What does the market we are trying to reach look like?

In this area, Lookery and QuantCast provide organizations with the data they need to decide when and where there message should go.


This is where the science becomes the visible. Advertising and branding create the message that portrays the product to the customers, using the information gathered in the targeting phase.

Advertising and branding are not the same thing. Branding is the overarching vision that a product wants to push to the world while advertising is the ephemeral visual and aural methods used to get the brand embedded in the consciousness of a population.


The third, and most critical circle in this cycle is communication. It is the one that companies so often get wrong, and that is garnering such a great deal of interest now. I would argue that until recently, companies have not understood communication, preferring to try and shape communication remotely, using advertising and branding, rather than engaging in it directly.

An organization that actively engages in communication is one that has a willingness to walk out from behind the safety of its brand and its advertising and talk to customers. Participate in conversations. Shape communities that emerge either for or against the product.

This is what companies are having so much difficulty with.

Attention and Reputation

Communicating with clients is the smallest circle because so few companies are doing it at all, and those that do it find it so hard to get right. What organizations have found is that attempting to use communication in the same way they use their existing marketing tools leads to failure here.

Getting the attention of a population of key customers is a targeting and messaging success. Holding the attention of these customers doesn’t require new advertising and a constantly refreshed brand. The people who we listen to most have a reputation, have opinions we trust.

It will be interesting to watch the true evolution of Corporate Communication (Corporate Conversations?) circle evolve in the next few years.