Much has been written about how marketing has changed over the past 15 years because the tools have changed. My question – has marketing really changed?
I recently hosted a full day seminar and asked participants what they expected from our time together. I do this to make sure I cover the most requested areas in enough detail. As usual, social media was the top vote getter and as usual, I said we would get to the topic after lunch. Before that, I explained it was important to understand what we at Dinkum call “the foundation”. The foundation is digging into the heart of a company and brand to find out who they really are – or would like to be – and where they want to go over the next year or so. There is much more to it but it is a good starting point and one that too often is missed.
The more I think about “social media” (still hate the term) the more I realize that too many people are putting the tool before the goal. The story I often share (I am sure you have heard this before) is that a plane flying to Hawaii is off course 90% of the time but because the pilot knows where they want to land, corrections and a safe landing are the result. They have a goal. There’s no point using social media if you don’t know what your goal is.
Ask yourself, do you have a product or service that folks want to interact with? Many folks buy an item because it’s right for them but they may not feel the need to tell everyone about the dish detergent they use. There are many examples of products trying too hard for your attention when all you want to do is enjoy the product and not interact with it. I don’t need to “Like” Pepsi to buy it. I don’t even need to tell anyone else that I prefer it to Coke. That doesn’t mean the tools are useless for the end result. The end goal might need to be different. For example Virtua Health discusses topics of interest to women. Their intention is that when you think of women’s health, you think of Virtua.
Engagement is not about the entity (company) putting out information and hoping someone will want to talk about it. Engagement is about interaction that happens when you provide a forum interesting enough for folks to talk with each other about it.
Krista Neher’s “Why Marketers are Missing the Point on Social Media” raises interesting points about how “value added” activity is an important lesson. Steve Smolinsky‘s maxim – “simplicity – the cure for complexity” – is also true of social media tools. Yes, there are too many tools. But don’t forget that you determine which ones become popular.
I believe the prospect and the client all want simple engagement with you. Make it easy for them to understand and interact with you. The interaction could be to buy. Make it easy for them to do so. Valeria’s blog at Conversation Agent outlines “50 Content Ideas to Create Buzz”. Ideas that discuss value are key to prospects. It’s not what the company “thinks” might or should be of value. It’s not about you. The Internet has changed the rules. The buyers are in charge – long live the buyers.
Are you still trying to use the tools to sell? If so, stop. Instead, use the tools to buy.
Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/830331