A lot has changed in marketing over the last few years. It used to be that a company would look at their business model and customer demographic information and formulate marketing plans based on how they wanted to market to you. There was little consideration to being disruptive and annoying – which can indeed damage your brand.
Good news, marketing concepts haven’t changed, but how you reach your potential buyer has.
Traditional tools that marketers would use included cold calling, billboards and television advertising.
These tools worked to an extent. But they were expensive, didn’t effectively target their potential customers and were not very easy to measure.
Also, and I think this is important to note, were intrusive. Not everyone wants to see that commercial about the next supersized burger, or hear about how great a new widget is over the phone.
Most people are getting better at blocking out these intrusive forms of advertising these days. A few examples include using their DVR to tape favorite shows (without the advertisements) and using call display on their phones to decide who they want to talk with.
So where does this leave marketers today?
Today, there is a HUGE shift to online promotional activities. Think of the buying process for yourself.
You see a great looking car parked in front of your business. What do you do?
My guess is you don’t sit at your desk and wait for a radio ad to let you know all about the car? I didn’t think so – you “Google it”.
You learn about the car, how much it typically sells for, the features, etc. Perhaps you locate a local dealership and then you contact them.
Can you spot the difference?
The difference is – you “looked for the information” rather than the car dealership “looking for you”. How much closer might you be to purchasing the car if you had done the research yourself? Closer I am assuming than if you had waited in your office for a radio ad to explain the benefits of buying that new car.
This is where online marketing makes WAY more sense than older ways like television and radio ads.
Online marketing tends to be less expensive, provides better value, and is less intrusive. Win-win-win.
One observation that I have made over the last few years is that small business and large ones too, are very SLOW moving to newer and useful online marketing methods. Sure, they may have a company Facebook page or a customer e-mail list. Both are good things to have, don’t get me wrong. But the problem I have observed is that business has yet to implement “strategy” to their social assets like Facebook.
I still see posts of cute cats (I like cats don’t get me wrong). But the question should be why are we posting an image of a cat? How do we tie this cat picture into building our brand? How do we offer value to our customer? And ultimately, how do we get the customer to rave about our company to their friends and associates?
I’ll give you one quick example I observed yesterday while I was online that confirmed my observation that local business is slow to adopt the tremendous online promotional opportunities available to them. I was looking for home builders in Edmonton, so I Google’d it.
Sure enough, there were many builders that came back for results. So, I scanned through their company names (which is important for branding and for another article) and decided to click on the first one, essentially because they all sounded the same.
Their Google+ page came up. Great! – not so great. This particular builder had not set up their Google+ account. This really is too bad. Google+ has many benefits. But the most obvious benefit is that the builder could have easily posted pictures and information about the houses they build. In fact, they could have posted information every day, weekly or monthly for me (and the world) to learn about their products and services and potentially I or others would have been one step closer to contacting them. Opportunity lost.