I recently spoke at the 2009 UWEBC Business Best Practices and Emerging Technologies Conference about integrating Social Media into the marketing mix and as the last speaker of the day, I felt a little rushed. My bad, not the organizers, as they didn’t ask me to rush – I just did.

In doing so, I neglected to mention to the audience that what I was going to discuss with them was “blocking and tackling.” That I wasn’t going to rock their world with incredible new information about this exciting new form of media. Rather, as I tend to do when I get to talk about new media, I was going to bring everything down to earth – very, very quickly. Which leads me to the heart of this post.

As a marketer with decades of experience – of that, over a decade in interactive – as you’d imagine, I take a very marketing-centric view of media – interactive or otherwise.  Regardless of how exciting a medium may be, regardless of how many articles are written about it, and regardless of how much money is raised, I have to ask very simple questions about audience, message, and strategy.

So my talk at the UWEBC was very pragmatic. It was about how I’ve successfully taken appropriate forms of social media and blended them with other forms of traditional and interactive media to ensure that the overall mix is on-strategy and on-message.

By appropriate, I refer to the fact that, dependent upon the client, the best social media to use is that which their audience uses. This doesn’t imply that clients shouldn’t experiment, but that takes time and resource which in this economic climate, is not always available. So experimentation aside, I counsel clients to pick the social media that will reach their audience and, that they can reasonably support from a budget and resource perspective.

By now you’ve probably gotten the the headline of this blog, that there is no such thing as social media marketing. And if you haven’t, here it is. Social Media is just that, a medium to communicate, interact, and transact with your prospects and customers. In and of itself, it is not “marketing.”  The 4 p’s are the 4 p’s and certainly, promotion and place are what Social MEDIA address. But to suggest that there is now a new form of MARKETING just rubs me the wrong way and really, sends the wrong message.

The message it sends is that now that there is this thing out there, Social Media, that businesses must completely change the way that they “market.” Surely, new forms of media mean lots of changes to the way that business interacts with customers and prospects. And interactive media in all forms rocked our worlds in a big way. However, the basic tenets of marketing remain intact.

The basic approach that you take as it relates to audience, strategy, and messaging for example, are essentially the same approach that you’d take to plan for and execute other forms of media. Yes, there are nuances that need to be understood – particularly as it relates to interactive vs. what I refer to as traditi0nal media. Yes, there are now more options to consider.

But at the end of the day, if you know how to evaluate, plan for, and execute other forms of interactive media, then you can do the same with Social Media or whatever that new form of media that will come into vogue tomorrow.

So forget about Social Media Marketing, will you? Please? And focus on how you can use this exciting new and valuable means of tapping into where your customers and prospects are connecting and sharing in the most strategic manner for your business. Which I suggest, is all about integration into your overarching marketing strategy, not about inventing something new that you have to go back to school to learn.

What do you think?