When looking at marketing your business, it’s easy to let the technology take over and end up becoming the goal, rather than as a means to get there.
It’s easy to get caught up with the astronomical growth – and opportunity – that exists in mobile marketing. Or looking at Facebook, or Twitter, or the “App” economy, or whatever. But the technology is simply the most visible facilitator of something much bigger.
What’s often missing is asking ourselves what the “why” is behind all of these trends. If we can understand the reasons why the use of such technologies are becoming the lingua franca of today’s empowered customer, then we can better understand the underlying buying changes that customers are going through. As a result, we may be able to better adapt our value communications, marketing and sales strategies accordingly.
Are you contributing to the noise?
So-called “traditional” marketing doesn’t go away, because what we’ll call “traditional” customers haven’t gone away. However, I don’t think that many would disagree that customer behavior is changing. The reasons are many, but (to make a sweeping generalization) the clear message is simple: As customers, we’ve have had enough.
We’ve had enough of not being heard. We’ve had enough of being palmed-off with poor service, being trapped in endless loops dealing with automated telephone redirections, put through to outsourced call-centers staffed by robots, and so on.
What we want is to be shown that we matter.
If a company want us to connect with them in these new communication channels and networks, then we expect a level of understanding and empathy as to what our expectations are. By inference, this extends to the type and form of communication that we’re prepared to accept. We’re busy, and bombarded with enough information already. We don’t want you to contribute to the noise. We may not know what we like, but we definitely know what we don’t like. We want you to be part of the signal – the value – the information that helps us in our decisions, our work, our personal life, whatever.
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know
Companies today need to readily admit to themselves that how they believe these inter-connected, empowered customers make decisions is very different to the reality of how customers actually make decisions.
Too many businesses are jumping on the technology, only to market themselves and their wares in the exact same way that they have always done. Oftentimes everything can look fine and dandy – loads of Facebook “Likes”, thousands of Twitter “Followers”, etc. However, there’s no systematic measurement of actions and outcomes that have real-world business implications.
What’s the point – apart from bragging rights – of having 20,000 Followers, for example, if it’s simply absorbing resources and not contributing to your company’s bottom line?
Then there’s the question of which social network. The problem is that many businesses see these as no more than simply channels, and therefore adopt a channel mentality. They think that they need to be on all of them. They take a linear marketing approach and repackage the same message across all of those channels. Then they wonder why this whole Social Network thing isn’t working for them.
Look past the technology. Instead, look at your customers and how you can deliver on (if not exceed) their expectations. Stop contributing to the noise. Invest in programs that provide value, direction and insight. If you don’t, then you can bet that someone else will.