Everywhere you look lately folks are making business predictions for the New Year 2010 and I’m going to chime right in. My topic is marketing.
First, however, I want to give you my definition for marketing – it is not quite what others might say.
Marketing is telling everyone, everywhere:
- what your business is, where it is, how to find it
- what your product/service is, what it can do for the consumer, why they need it, why they want it
- how your business differs from others that are similar – what your uniqueness’s are, what makes your business so very special
- why the consumer should/ought to exchange their precious dollars and cents for your product/service
Marketing is telling everyone, everywhere in every way that people can and do receive information:
- newspapers, magazines and direct mailers – the hard copy kind, the newsprint ink that smears on your fingers and the flyers, brochures and sales letters that come in the snail mail; AND the online versions: newspapers online, magazines online and email ads that come both solicited and unsolicited
- television ads, radio ads – both via traditional tv and radio vehicles and online versions
- internet banner ads, classified ad sites, display ad boxes on social media sites
- social media relationship building
- weblogs and forums and other self-publishing arenas where messages about anything and everything under the sun, moon and stars can be shared
A business’ marketing department is usually tasked with:
- designing the message
- crafting the message delivery system
- delivering the message
- measuring the results of both the message and the delivery system
My prediction about marketing for 2010 is that we all begin to realize that calendars are human conventions and that time is an amorphous mystery – we are actually calendar-less. What 2010 is going to bring is already around us. I came across a great article on Social Media Today that has some fantastic information on this very topic. The article, “2010: The Year Marketing Dies…(Subtitled) Or at Least Marketing as We Know It!” by Augie Ray, has these points – among others – that I find worthy of comment here [from the article]: “… Of course, if marketing burns to the ground in 2010, a new and more powerful marketing will rise from the ashes. The role of the new marketer [I picked the 3 of Mr. Ray's 8 points that spoke to me the most]:
- Won’t be to plan bursts of communication on a yearlong calendar but to respond to and be part of the ever-changing dialog with consumers,
- Won’t be to count friends, page visits, eyeballs, readers, or viewers but to measure changes in consumer attitude and intent,
- Won’t be merely to talk at consumers but to listen and engage one to one….”
Point One I find significant and is one with which I totally agree – marketing is no longer a ‘January through December’ message plan – in fact I’d say this has been outmoded for some time now. Consider that technology moves so quickly that in the electronics industry, as example, things are outmoded within a couple months – what good is a 12-month message plan for something that has a version 14.0 coming out only 6 weeks after version 1.0? [okay that's exaggerated, but not by much].
I think what is important is to have a message that is not so much crafted as it is a photograph or hologram of what the product or service actually is and what it’s value actually could be to the end user. In other words, not one message for niche A and a different message for niche B…the same message but told in as many ways as is relevant to the receiving system in place.
Point Two is very important and very misunderstood. I’ll be the first to recommend to a business, large or small, that having a business profile on Facebook and LinkedIn is a good idea. However, it is not the number of friends and contacts the profile has…rather it is the quality and the reason for putting up the profile. You might have a business profile on Facebook because it is one place where you can link your Twitter updates and new blog posts…it gives you a wider population for sharing news and views. Let’s say you launch a new product. You write a post about it on the blog on your business website. You announce the new product release in a Twitter update AND you tweet your blog post – both of these show up on your Facebook profile as new updates…in this tiny example you can see that three separate populations now know about your new product release. The ROI will not be in numbers of page views or friends but in the chatter about your business and in sales.
Point Three is awesome. Traditional marketing is indeed talking at the consumer. New marketing is talking with the consumer; it is a conversation. One cool way of marketing is being done online with the vehicle of reviews. Right now my husband is researching plasma television sets and blue ray players. Yes, we have gone to the retail stores and looked at them and spoken with the salespeople. He has read what the “experts” are saying about the various brands but what is having the greatest impact on him is what other consumers are saying. Amazon.com has used the review feature for some time and it is a great way to gauge what some people’s experiences are with products. The example I’ve linked to here is for Paula Deen cookware – towards the bottom of the page are the consumer reviews.
I think what marketing needs is a change of clothing. Instead of marketing being about selling your product or service, marketing ought to be about engaging the consumer in a conversation about his or her needs and wants and how your product or service can meet or fulfill that. In 2010 pure sales won’t be enough. Added value will be key.
Happy Holidays! May the New Year bring you and your family many joys.