Marketing in the age of the Internet and Social Media
For years marketing has been a function of trying to determine what people want, crafting a message to speak to that need or desire, and pushing out a message to a targeted audience that says something along the lines of: “our product or service can fill that need”. Let’s call this method of marketing traditional advertising. This method still works but its effectiveness is diminishing. In a study by The Marketing Data Box and Hubspot the cost of a traditionally generation leads was about two and a half times more costly than those coming from Internet marketing sources.
A new paradigm
Traditional advertising emphasizes only one side of a conversation—the seller’s side of the equation. Prospects and customers can only watch, listen to or read an ad that is on TV, radio or in print. With Internet marketing this paradigm has shifted 180 degrees. By using a search engine like Google anyone who has Internet access (and this is probably most of your potential customers) can quickly find out a great deal about just about any product or service under the sun.
Not only can your customers find out about products and services they can find out about you, your company and how you do business. In this client empowered space people are demanding, and in many cases getting, a different kind of communication from the companies they buy products and services from. Marketing communication of this sort emphasizes a two-way conversation.
The social business model
So what do people want from businesses these days? Transparency is probably the biggest concern. People want to know what is going on behind the curtain. If the Occupy Wall Street movement tells us anything its that people are sick and tired of not knowing what goes on behind closed doors because this breeds a bad deal for them. This means that everyone in the company is going to become a marketer in that they can (or should) be available via social media outlets like Twitter to answer questions from existing or potential customers.
Social responsibility can mean a lot of things. Here are a few important items: corporate citizenship and self-regulation integrated, highly ethical behavior, voluntarily eliminating practices that harm the public, and honoring the triple bottom line: people, planet, profit. In their book Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose authors Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, and Jagdish N. Sheth demonstrate the social paradigm is actually a superior profit engine than more traditional excellence driven approaches.
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