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Why Mad Men’s Don Draper Would Make An Excellent Social Media Manager


Let’s take a look at Mad Men’s Don Draper. Hard drinking, chain smoking, old school. As an Ad Exec he was dealing with the world of marketing way before Mr Zuckerberg was even born, and his pearls of wisdom prove that if he was around today, he’d be Social Media Marketing force to be reckoned with…

Don Draper’s words tell us more about marketing than we give credit – here’s why he would make an excellent Social Media Manager.

“Maybe I’m not as comfortable being as powerless as you are.” 

Don said this after an altercation with underling Peter Campbell and it rings true for any small business owner or entrepreneur wanting to do all in their power to harness Social Media for their brand. Don Draper would be a great Social Media Manager because he is ‘hands-on’ and willing to discover new ways to get a message across. Could be that he discovered Content Marketing 50 years before anyone else!

“Change is neither good or bad, it simply is.”

In the retro 60’s ad agency, an advert was reworked, polished and pitched over a period of months before it was finally unveiled for TV, print or radio. In real-time Social Media Marketing, you’re on the front line and time is of the essence. But don’t be put off by the ever-evolving world of social media. Instead, embrace change and see it as an opportunity to try to get ahead of your competitors. An effective Social Media Practitioner is always ahead of the curve.

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.”

Before saying this, the Head of Creative was asked to pitch a rather boring product to an over-expectant crowd and yet, he managed to pull it off with all the grace and charisma you’d expect – engaging his audience to such an extent they were left wanting more. Social media outreach is an opportunity to embrace your customers, talk about your USP and ‘be who they want you to be.’

“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing one.”

While there’s been tonnes of fantastic writing on the show, this corker is a favourite because it touches a nerve with Social Media Managers everywhere. In an industry that’s moving so fast, mistakes will be made. However, it’s what you take away from the situation that will ultimately prevent you from making the same slip-ups in the future.

“We’re gonna sit at our desks typing while the walls fall down around us. Because we’re the least important, most important thing there is.”

Sterling Cooper Draper Price is in trouble and Peggy asks what to do after a condescending businessman patronises Don by saying ‘creative’ is the least important cog in the machine. As usual, this statement is rich with meaning (you don’t get your name on the door for nothing, you know) and Don knows that its inspirational ad campaigns that win customers, not the accounts men.

To quote Mark McGuiness, “typing while the walls fall down around us” is a glancing allusion at the saying “fiddling while Rome burns” – used to dismiss artistic types as hopelessly impractical. But Don’s twist on the cliché is defiant, asserting that creativity is more enduring than the walls of Rome or Madison Avenue.”

How creative do you want your social media marketing to be? We’d all love to pour a glass of whiskey and enter the head of Don Draper, sadly that’s not possible, but what the marketing guru teaches us – regardless of era – is that advertising only works when you know your audience and engage them using creative technique and flair.

Photo Source: By Angela Natividad from Paris, France (Mad Men’s Jon Hamm) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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