More than 1.5 million pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) are shared on Facebook daily
Your customers care more about how their social graph ranks products and services than how Google ranks them
25% of Americans in the past month said they watched a short video on their phone
If gaining market share were as easy as switching from traditional marketing methods to more modern marketing techniques, we’d all be instant experts. In reality, the most successful marketing campaigns are a careful blend of the old and new.
The key lies in knowing how to combine the two successfully. Starbucks is an excellent example of an organization that pays attention to its marketing mix. In addition to having a strong presence in more traditional media outlets like print advertising, Starbucks has a Twitter page with more than 180,000 followers and a Facebook page with close to 2 million fans. In an effort to marry offline and online marketing techniques, Starbucks introduced a contest in which the first person to post an online photograph of one of the company’s newest marketing posters will win a prize. Contests such as these attract thousands of posts that help to reinforce the offline campaign.
More organizations are embracing the concept that a mix of traditional and modern marketing components—print, television, video, Internet, mobile phone—are key to customer outreach. As a matter of fact, a study of senior executives done by Heidrick and Struggles showed that when it comes to strategies designed to achieve their company’s growth objectives, optimizing the efficiency of the marketing mix across the business came out in front. Of course, understanding a concept and understanding how to put that concept into play so that your organizations emerges a winner are two separate things.
That’s right. Going forward there are going to be winners, and there are going to be losers. How is your organization going to fare? That depends upon your ability to successfully:
- Establish authority and a relationship with potential customers more effectively than the competition
- Offset the high cost of customer acquisitions by maximizing lifetime customer value
- Establish multiple sources of customer touch points for lead generation, customer service, and cross sell/upsell
- Leverage new technology to better understand your customer and competition
- Create an organization structure, and technology infrastructure, to take advantage of new, dynamic marketing capabilities in the distributed web
The key establishing a system to create new habits within your organization. The sooner you start that process, the more likely it is your business ends up in the win column.
You can only cut costs for so long! Yet, you can’t save your way to a growing, profitable business. Customers are key—acquiring new ones as well as sustaining the ones you already have. That hasn’t changed, and it never will. In fact, according to a recent Yahoo business survey, 40 percent of respondents claimed that acquiring customers trumped any other challenge they faced. Then why is gaining market share suddenly so difficult?
In large part this struggle is due to an inability to adapt our marketing and advertising strategies to the new marketplace environment. Not too long ago, strategies were focused on finding, courting, and aggressively selling to customers. Organizations used a variety of “traditional” media and sales methods to accomplish this, including print, radio, and broadcast advertisements, direct mail, yellow pages ads, referrals, and cold calls. As a general rule of thumb, the harder you worked at “interrupting” your customers — controlling the messages they received concerning your products and services — the more competitive your organization was. Sure, these methods weren’t cheap. But they paid off.
Well, these methods still aren’t cheap. But today, they no longer pay off. Why? Consider the ways in which our world and media have changed:
1) As new Internet applications become a bigger part of everyday life, they are quickly changing the way people receive and exchange information. Search, video, social media, audio, news, and RSS—together these things have become the source for information and problem solving. Today, most people are trained to log on to the web and search for what seems to be an unlimited array of information and choices on just about every imaginable product, service, and interest. A person who wants to buy a cell phone with a camera feature, for example, can type “cell phones with camera feature” into a search engine like Google and have millions of references pop up. A consumer who wants to learn about cell phones is no longer at the mercy of Verizon or AT & T—or any other carrier, for that matter—when it comes to information about cell phones, because there are lots of perspectives, points of view, and opinions they can access on the Internet. Think about how the “authority” in this purchase has shifted over time. It jumped from a combination of salesperson and/or ads and reviews in traditional media outlets like magazines or newspapers, to online blogs, comparative buyers’ guides and online stores, all with a large dose of consumer ratings and reviews. While traditional media ads and reviews are still with us, their influence has dramatically diminished.
Let’s say that someone wants to compare the features of the Apple iPhone to the LG Voyager smart phone. In the past, consumers would encounter TV commercials or print ads that became one of the few sources for knowledge. In stark contrast, today’s consumer can log on to YouTube, type in some keywords, and can watch video demonstrations of both phone’s features whenever they feel like it. And those video demos can just as easily come from a neutral party as from the manufacturer. Consumers can access everyday social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to find out what others they trust are saying about the phones they are considering. And if they want to, they can even contribute their own opinions. In short, today’s technology invites consumers to actively search for what they want instead of waiting for advertisers to deliver a message (which will most likely get lost among the myriad choices). Online search, in a nutshell, has and continues to completely disrupt marketing through traditional interruptive media and turned it upside down.
Consider the following statistics:
- According to Nielsen Online, social networks and blogs are the 4th most popular online activity, and now surpass personal email! Approximately 67% of the global online population visits member-based communities, and social media accounts for 10% of all Internet use.
- About 150 million people around the world use Facebook—an online community that served only American college students five years ago. As a matter of fact, if Facebook were a country, it would be the eighth most populated country in the world!
- According to Quantcast, more than 4.1 million people in
the United States access Twitter—every month!
- − 100 million videos are viewed at YouTube every day!
Instead of seeking out potential customers and interrupting them to get attention and awareness, customers are being trained by the new technologies to seek out solutions to problems with online search. What this means is that in today’s world media providers are no longer in control. Consumers are. Organizations that understand this and know how to use digital tools to refine their marketing and strategy will come out on top from this period of disruption.
2) New Scalable Internet technologies mean low cost of entry and unlimited access to customers. The opportunity to “engage” consumers—as they “search” for products, services, and information—changes the game. New technologies like web services, AJAX, and BBand—combined with these applications described above—have created and will continue to create an unprecedented opportunity for engaging, understanding, and converting new and existing customers.
Yet successful new marketing strategies that rely on consumers searching and finding you will not succeed in the long term. Instead, strategies must be developed around the concept of “going to” your consumers using these technologies and ways of accessing information. We call this the “distributed web.” It’s also known as the “social web,” or as “social media.” Best of all, these new technologies will reduce your costs of marketing because they leverage powerful, existing infrastructure. Consider this—with today’s technology you can implement a powerful content management system and website for only a few thousand dollars that several years ago would have required at least $50-$100K for a software company to implement on behalf of your organization. Many similar examples of leveraging technology exist from content storage, database management, shopping cart services, and even content development. When you learn how to leverage these technologies and applications efficiently you’ll meet consumers where they “hang out.” You’ll get to know your customers better than ever, and you’ll forge closer, lasting relationships. And that will result in more opportunity.
3) Flexible organizations that can adapt to changes win. This isn’t the first time that changing technology has dictated new sales and marketing strategies, and it won’t be the last. Procter & Gamble, the 8th largest corporation in the world, is one of the best examples of how an organization can consistently beat out its competition when it adjusts to changing technology. When radio became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, P & G became the originator of the “soap opera” when it sponsored several radio programs. When television came on the scene in the 1950s and 1960s, P & G sponsored and produced most of the daytime serials, and became the first company to produce and sponsor a primetime show. Proctor & Gamble continues its long tradition of devouring market shares by taking advantage of technology—you can find them on social networking sites like Facebook, and many of their top executives “Twitter” and “blog.” Will the social web become the new customer outreach, like telemarketing was in the last decade? We think it will be even more important strategically, and you need to prepare your organization to adapt.
4) For the most mature method of online marketing, PPC, customer acquisition costs are going up while new web service technologies are making it very easy and inexpensive to reach customers in new ways. For many advertising categories, the costs for PPC marketing has skyrocketed because of intense competition and relatively few performing keywords or phrases.
5) While these strategies can still be profitable, they need to be complimented with new methods of reaching potential customers like social web, widgets, and viral promotions. Leveraging content and messaging across both the distributed web and offline channels is critical to winning the market share game today.
It’s the new normal. Build and work a plan that allows your business to take advantage of these changes and your company will dominate your market. Learn more in our Free eReport “Disrupted”.
Scarcity in marketing is an old tactic that is becoming in vogue again…because it works. Especially in a tough economic environment. Scarcity does a few things. First, it gets people to take action if they are sitting on the fence. Second, it creates a premium value perception that will put you ahead in a commoditized or competitive market. Most important, it provides your business and opportunity to focus on high value targets in an environment where you need to focus resources and maximize ROI.
Don’t get caught up trying to beat your competition head on. Change the game and take a higher, more profitable road. Scarcity is one tactic that helps you do that.
I just read a great story about brand using scarcity in FutureLab…check it out.
Is marketing in the new normal easy? In a word, no.
When I started my marketing career in 1981 at Y&R in nyc I remember what media planning was like. In those days we had a “computer room” where we all had to go (b/c we did not have computers on our desks) and “run the numbers”. That was, keep running reach and frequency reports till the cows came home and/or you finally discovered the optimal mix (theoretically) of media to maximize your reach, frequency and effective reach.
Remember effective reach? How many times you clobbered your prospect over the head with your message till you thought it finally registered? Well, 28 years later the customer somehow got control. And they do not like getting interrupted very much. They like to learn about new products and services that might fit their needs, but they want those messages delivered to them when they are seeking answers…by people they trust and know. Read more
We created a free ebook with this title because I know so many of the business managers we talk with feel like “Disrupted” is the state of their business right now. The bad economy, combined with new technology and interactive marketing techniques, has changed the way business marketing will work effectively in the future. Call it the new normal.
What to do? Education, training and experimenting is the key. The companies and executives that stay ahead of this curve will benefit greatly. Winners and losers will emerge out of this Disruption. Anyone know who the largest soap company in the US was before radio? It was not P&G. Companies that adapt to the new normal will win new customers and influence the market in unprecedented ways. And guess what, anyone can play in this new normal regardless of the size of your organization. Because everyone has an equal playing field in terms of access to customers and leveraging great content. Creativity and serving customers better than anyone else in the market will win in the new normal.
Welcome to the new normal! Join us in the fun and excitement of winning in this new Disrupted marketing and media environment.
Check out our free ebook at GenNext Media LLC.
Successful companies in social media act more like Dale Carnegie and less like David Ogilvy…Listening first, selling second!
Successful companies in social media act more like party planners, aggregators, and content providers than traditional advertisers