Let’s start with Today’s Marketing Challenge…
In the past, business owners got the word out about their products or services any way they could – brochures, newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, radio and television commercials – really whatever the budget could afford.
But that was during a time when the marketer controlled the message.
Oh how things have changed…
Now, rather than broadcast ones marketing message – business owners need to join, participate in, and contribute to community networks to which others are joining in staggering numbers.
Rather than ‘talking at potential customers’, your marketing has to ‘talk with them’.
Yes, learning to communicate in the community web does require learning a new way to start and participate in conversations. But the conversations are already going on without you and sometimes the conversations may be about you, your company, product or service.
Business owners are realizing what worked in the past is not working (or not working as well) now.
American consumers (you and I) have more choices, more products, more services, more media, more messages and more digital conversations than ever.
Television: The average American receives 70 or more TV stations, this number continues to grow, while the average time spent viewing continues to hold its own.
Magazines: Publishers introduced more than 1000 new magazines titles in 2006, the number of titles, circulation, and single-copy sales continue to decline.
Newspapers: Circulation is falling (hastened by the web) so advertising is following readers to the internet.
Radio: Sirius satellite radio offers 55 channels of sports, news and commentary and 69 channels of commercial-free music. XM offers 150 channels of commercial-free music.
If you take away one message from this article I’d like it to be…
“In the new world of marketing the customer is in control”
Tools used by customers to avoid your marketing message;
- Tivo, DVRs – used to skip past commercials on Television
- National Do Not Call Registry – used to avoid Telemarketers
- Pop-up Blockers – used to avoid Internet pop-up ads
- Spam filters – used to avoid email ads
- iPod – used to listen to music and avoid Radio commercials
- Just turn the page – has always been the way we avoid print ads
It won’t be news to anyone that most advertising is incredibly inefficient.
Interesting side note… Two-thirds of the commercials during last year’s Super Bowl were designed to send visitors to a website.
Although we are at the creation of the community web, savvy small business owners should dive in NOW.
If you wait much longer, your competitors will have figured out how to expand their network, their relationships, their brand and their reputation.
The marketer’s new job will be to participate in online communities of interest and to contribute. The reason for this is simple… to cut the marketing budget and reach more people more effectively.
So what do you do next? Like anything new it can be confusing.
The first question I’d like you to answer is “Where am I most likely to find like minded people who will appreciate my contributions?”
If you work mainly in the corporate world you might find Linkedin.com to be the most worthy of your time investment.
If you want to reach a national audience then Facebook.com would be a place I’d recommend you join.
If you are a small business owner who derives the majority of their revenue via referrals and a local marketplace, say within the Triangle. I’d recommend you check out inSide919.com. It’s free, growing and very local – you most likely already know some inSiders.
But remember you’ll have to change your marketing from a ‘direct message’ into an ‘ongoing conversation’ – you’re not going be able to ‘sell’ people in these communities.
You’ll need to build your personal brand and reputation before you can build trust… and then connections… and then referrals… and then business.
Yes, it does look like a slower approach, but it’s not. Done right it is a very fast way to do good business now and into the future.
Why should you be interested in social networking?
Because the customer is now in control of the message and that’s where they or the people who know them are hanging out.
Social Networks are where you’ll find them, be referred to them and join in the conversation with them.
Look forward to connecting with you online and learning more about you and what you do.