What Type of Agency Will Own Social Media Marketing?

Bissell's director of marketing dissects the battle among traditional, digital, pr shops

Bissell's director of marketing Theresa Junkunc knows how difficult managing social media work can be, particularly when multiple roster shops compete for the same assignment. That's one reason why Bissell this month decided to consolidate its creative and media business at a single shop: Olson. Still, the broader industry question of what type of agency owns social media marketing—traditional creative? digital? public relations? media?—remains. Junkunc reflects on that question, social listening and how she evaluates the effectiveness of social efforts. 

So, for social media assignments, is it an open field?

When I have a couple different agencies that are working for me that would like the work, I’ve had them put together a strategy and seen how they are thinking about social and how it would work. Then you can get a feel for what they are thinking and you can see how it fits with your campaigns. It depends on what agencies you’re working with at the time. Like Olson—their roots are digital experiential and they’ve kept on top of the new way to think about social.

How has social media marketing changed in recent years?

Two years ago when you thought about social, it was Facebook and how many fans do I have. Now it’s Facebook and Twitter and engaging people. It's figuring out how to talk to people in real time and engage them. It’s not making conversation. It’s finding conversations and finding ways to get in on them.

What percentage of your media budget (projected at $30 million this year) goes toward social media efforts?

We don’t do a huge amount of ad buying on social. It’s mostly hours and that type of thing. I don’t know if it cracks more than a couple percent. Some social platforms really know a lot about people and you can really target there. It's better than other platforms for that. It's maybe four percent [of the budget], maybe two percent. 

As the social media landscape evolves, have you looked at the work you were getting and said, 'We’re not getting what we need?'

You’re always evaluating the campaigns that you work on and how you work with the agency. After every campaign you do that. It's part of the analytics process. Not only are you looking at, did that work for me but also, how did the agency evaluate that? You're making sure things are done well and that you understand what worked and didn’t [and] if the consumer was engaged or not, so that next time you have a better campaign. You're reviewing the campaign but also the agency so you can give feedback and improve based on what has happened.

Internally, what kinds of social media listening do you do?

We do that for floor care and see what people are talking about. Is it pet hair, is it dander, is it messes? Social listening is interesting because it gives you ideas for product development and what you might want to include. Consumer care can go in and seek out people who are dissatisfied and start conversations there. They can try and make people who are unhappy happy. You can insert yourself into a conversation that’s out there and make it positive.

Ultimately, who will win the battle to handle social media marketing—digital agencies, full-service shops, pr agencies?

It's still kind of a jump ball right now. I don’t know where it will land. Eventually we’ll have a bunch of hybrid agencies that are PR/digital/social because everything is kind of converging. Agencies will change to meet the need of the clients over time.