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The World Has Changed…Has Your Marketing?
Posted on April 7th 2011
The Internet has fundamentally transformed the way people discover, share, connect and shop. 79% of adults use the internet (Pew Internet & American Life Project, May 2010). It’s time for your company to transform the way you connect and communicate with your customers – and maybe even more importantly, with potential customers. Old-school techniques, including telemarketing, direct mail, TV, radio and print advertising (to reach customers), just don’t work anymore. Your customers shop and learn in a whole new way compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adapt or risk extinction. 78% of Internet users conduct product research online (Pew Internet & American Life Project, May 2010). The average information seeker conducts dozens of searches per day , and- rather than listen to a sales rep, read a spam message, watch a TV ad, or fly to a trade show - most people find it easier to sit at their desks and find information online through Google. In order to take advantage of this new reality, marketers need to change the way they think about marketing – from the ground up.
The digital revolution has drastically changed over the past 20 years. In the early 1990’s it was more of your traditional broadcast message. Websites were brochure ware. The boom of sites such as AltaVista, Yahoo and Google focused on helping people find your site, but the message was still only one way. With much invested in getting online, companies started to look into ways to monetize their investment, and sites like Ebay, Amazon, and PayPal came along to help accomplish this. But, people wanted to have a voice and in the mid 2000’s that started to emerge. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter made it possible for prospects to share their thoughts. Not just with one or two friends but with thousands of people. Just like how Amazon helped monetize the “read transformation” sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and DealFind are monetizing the “talk transformation”. The internet has turned from what used to be a controlled, one-way message into a real-time dialogue with millions.
Search engines, blogging and other Internet trends have fundamentally transformed the way people and businesses purchase products, but most businesses still use outdated & inefficient marketing methods – like print advertising, telemarketing & trade shows – that people still finding increasingly intrusive and continue to tune out. Audiences everywhere are tough. They don’t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox old-fashioned advertising. You need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and become what people are interested in. If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.
Companies that make the change, use inbound marketing and focus on earning people’s interest instead of buying it are seeing significant results (Stats provided by HubSpot):
- Companies that blog get 55% more website visitors.
- Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.
- 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired customers through FaceBook.
- 57% of businesses have acquired customers through their company blog.
- 42% of companies have acquired a customer through Twitter.
- 2/3 of marketers say their company blog is “critical” or “important” to their business
- The number of marketers who report that Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business has increased to 83% in just two years.
What is really needed is a mindset shift from ‘telling and selling’ to building relationships. Your prospects will reward it for you. 51% of Facebook fans are more likely to buy the brands they fan (Chadwick Martin Bailey & Imoderate Research Technologies, February 2010). Similarly 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend the brands they follow (Chadwick Martin Bailey & Imoderate Research Technologies, February 2010).
It no longer makes economic sense to send an advertising message to the many in hopes of persuading the few. Instead, HubSpot recommends that you follow these five steps:
- Make stuff that people want
- Educational books
- How-to videos
- Online calculators
- Planning tools
- Answers to common questions
- Be generous
- The more you give, the more you get
- Build trust, credibility and good will
- Increase # of pages and inbound links
- Rock your keywords
- Use tools such as http://www.websitegrader.com to find out how you are doing
- Use tools such as http://www.websitegrader.com to find out how you are doing
- Give great directions
- Relevant landing pages
- Clear calls to action
- Compelling offers
- Invest wisely
- If it doesn’t make dollars, it doesn’t make sense.
The Internet has fundamentally transformed the way people discover, share, connect and shop. It's time for marketers to transform the way they connect and communicate with their customers—and potential customers—as well. The real question becomes this: are you going to embrace this change and transform costly, low-yielding marketing programs into finely-tuned lead generation machines?