If you think about it, when the chips are down and things aren’t going well, most people/companies/organizations return to what has worked well in the past. That is just how we’re wired; most of us will pull back and hunker-down with our tried-and-true methods until things start to look up.
There are some things that you need to consider about this approach if you plan to continue to grow your business through online marketing during this difficult time, because online marketing isn’t the same as the marketing you may have done in the past. You cannot take the strategies and tactics of traditional marketing and apply it to how you participate on the Internet and expect to see solid results.
Old media was designed to sell ads. That’s how you and I got access to TV programming and cheaper newspapers- because advertisers paid the freight. That is how the Internet started out and, in many ways, advertisers still pay part of the note for sites/services/features that we enjoy for free. The difference is that, in the online world, the Internet doesn’t care because marketers no longer get to interrupt and try to command our attention, insisting that we see their message. Similarly, advertisers have lost the ability to carefully control what we know about their brand and what it stands for – we have such proliferation of information available that we can quickly and easily find out about a brand’s stance on issues of importance to us.
This is one of the main concepts that we try to talk to people about with regard to Social Media Marketing: brands need to fundamentally change their posture in order to succeed in this new marketing environment. It’s no longer about pushing a one-way message; instead, it is about providing relevant content and creating a natural draw for that information with your targets. It’s about listening to your customers’ interests and sending them information they’ll value and care about. It’s no longer about your brand and what you do, it is about what you can do for your prospects and customers.
There has to be a wake up call for marketers because the online world is becoming the primary media for reaching our target markets. According to a study released today by Pew Research, the Internet has overtaken newspapers as the primary source for news, but you must remember that the same rules do not apply to online marketing. As a marketer, you need to give up on the idea of pushing what you sell as a one-way message and embrace more direct communication with your targets, and focus on creating relationships and joining in the conversations that are already taking place online- conversations that involved you and your brand. You need to be a part of those conversations, so the time to engage is now.
I’m not an economic or financial expert, but I do know that they are doing an amazing amount of artificial manipulation of our economy, and all of that is going to eventually turn things around for this country. The U.S. is the biggest business in the world, it is not going to tank; we’re just going to have to ride it out for a little while until things start to turn back around. That being said, why would you sit and wait to start securing your place within this new marketing space? With such a small window to secure your position on the forefront as an communicator with your prospects and customers, can you afford to wait until this official recession is over?