Welcome to The Google Age.
We have seen clients just jump into social media marketing without a well thought out strategy. Most would never have thought to run a newspaper ad campaign without a clear objective, but for some reason they see social media in a different light. But if ever a sound strategy was needed, it is now.
During the ‘mass marketing’ period when we spent a lot of money (advertising & promotion), hunted for customers (cold calling) and hoped they remembered us when it came time to purchase, we could “broad stroke” our mass media strategy and still affect enough people to cause the desired result. Many pundits have said for years “ half my ad dollars are wasted – I just don’t know which half.” We know for sure now: it was a lot more than half!
Then The Google Age arrived. Web 2.0. Social Media. It brought millions of people online for many hours at a time. But more important; it returned the buying power back to the consumer. It literally changed the way people buy. For almost anything we are thinking of purchasing, for business or personal, we usually Google it. We do our homework so we are a much more educated buyer.
This transformed process means we are less likely to “be sold” something today than we are “to buy” it. And that shift changes everything for marketers. Rather than ideas and promotions that sell people, we are seeing firms give away a tremendous amount of “inside information”. Information designed to help educate the public. An open and transparent way of doing business. We are educating them and allowing them to buy. Some might say the really good marketers have always done that. (that’s what made them really good marketers!)
The transfer of power is simple: people can now “click a brand right out of their life”. If they are uncomfortable or annoyed – poof, they’re gone. And so are you. Or worse, they could become and active enemy, letting all of their community know why they are not your fan.
So strategy has never been more important to marketers. You must:
- Know (and speak to) a single primary target. That means listening to them BEFORE going into your standard pitch.
- Understand and articulate clearly, exactly what you are selling. Keep it simple.
- Understand the single, relevant issue that people need to know in order to buy.
Make sure that social media does not just become more noise. Today’s consumer will just turn you off or do you harm.