Quoting Verdino quoting AdWeek (this is fun!):
"TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony polled more than 60 marketers in North America, France and the U.K. to gauge how they are faring navigating the world of social media. It asked them for feedback on their agencies' abilities to help. TNS found, in its words, 'Agencies don't get it.'
"Clients complained that their agencies -- creative, media, public relations, design and others -- typically treat social channels like blogs as traditional media. In other cases, their ideas are not backed up by practical skills in the area. What's more, one client pointed out that his agencies have little of their own experience using social networks or video-sharing sites for themselves...
'You get the sense that agencies talk a good game,' said [Jim Nail, chief marketing and strategy officer at TNS.] 'They put up a good presentation about what social media is, but when you get to implementing campaigns, the day-to-day management skills are not meeting the marketers' expectations.' "
A few thoughts here. I totally agree with AdWeek that the dearth of expertise out there is creating opportunities for those of us who do get it (or at least have the business cards of those who do in our rolodexes). Folks like Dan Buczaczer at Denuo totally get it, have unique, powerful approaches to using social media, and have a burgeoning track record of client successes to prove they know what they are doing. (BTW congrats on the new baby Dan!)
Second, as I am constantly telling anyone who will listen, big marketing ideas start with media these days. If you lack media literacy and fail to harness media as a stimulus for thinking creative you as missing out. Social media is the biggest phenomenon in media these days (after search, I guess), so if you're not thinking about Facebook applications and niche social networks and stuff like that you're going to be marketing roadkill soon.
Finally, if you find yourself behind the times, a great way to jump start your education is just to begin using some social media yourself. Get a FaceBook page and accept all the friend invites and application downloads you can. Get onto LinkedIn. It's pretty easy - and once you get into the swing of things you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.