Integrating social media into a traditional business is challenging. More than you’d think. I’ve been a part of helping sheppard forward a new online community at a conservative market leading company and it’s been fun and tricky to advance the ball forward. Some of the issues we’ve been confronted with should come as no surprise of any of you in marketing… we’re busy and we’d already got a day job. The interesting thing is that everyone in their hearts knows that getting to a two-way online world is paramount in a strategy to grow closer to your partners and customers. This is what is driving each and every marketer to the table… customer intimacy.

The term “customer intimacy” may be an overused term, but it’s a key attribute that has gained wider support in a slower economy. Companies today need to pick their partners wisely. They need to focus their limited resources on the partners that they trust and that they know can drive revenue. At a minimum, your partners of today have to have a value to help differentiate your value proposition and drive the business forward.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some pretty high class partners over the years and appreciate their value in helping drive customer intimacy for your brand and with your brand. Social media is playing an ever increasing role in supporting the timely communication with partners and between partners.

It’s time we as marketers challenge the traditions of control and engage our partners and end-user customers with social media.