Marketing today is significantly different than in the past. The Internet and more recently, in the last decade or so, social media have disrupted how businesses reach their target audience(s).
We now live in a digital world and that digital world has, and continues, to open up new ways for us to reach consumers. While the age of a consumer usually has an impact on how Internet saavy they are, many in the older generations pride themselves on being online and ‘connected’ using websites, email and social media platforms like Facebook to do so.
For instance, although I consider myself an early adopter of technology, reading a novel on a smartphone or a tablet is not something that appeals to me. My friend Jenny, roughly twenty years younger than me and also an avid reader, loves reading novels on her iPhone.
Consumers today can do almost anything they like using a handheld digital device like a smartphone, a tablet, as well as on a desktop computer. Communication, shopping, entertainment (videos, movies, TV shows, podcasts), learning (reading, webinars), scheduling appointments, making reservations, for instance.
But while the world is going digital, digital is still evolving and print is not dead yet. just like advertising in a magazine or newspaper alone was never likely to build your business in the past. So too, relying exclusively on digital is unlikely to build your business. Certainly, there are some exceptions to the rule. But they are exceptions, not the norm.
Just as placing an in a magazine or newspaper alone was never likely to build your business in the past. So too, relying exclusively on digital is unlikely to build your business. Certainly, there are some exceptions to the rule. But they are just that, exceptions, not the norm.
We live in a cross-over generation where digital and print are in varying degrees of use, depending on your age, what you do for a living, where you live, etc.
One of my clients uses a combination of local newspaper ads (business card size), print flyers, CraigsList ads, paid Yelp ads and Google AdWords to drive sales for his business. Facebook is the next step for him. All of these point consumers to his website and/or his phone number. The nature of his business has made this a good and profitable strategy for his business.
The secret to his success is three-fold:
He understands he needs to …
- Make an ongoing investment of cash into marketing his business to build brand awareness and to drive phone calls and traffic to his website.
- Have a diversified approach to marketing his business and relies upon and invests in a variety of strategies to drive traffic and phone calls.
- Manage his brand’s reputation by delivering consistently great customer service at an affordable price.
Add to this he regularly asks for testimonials and understands that everything he and his staff do and say influences the reputation of his business.
In a digital world, it can be easy to forget that other forms of marketing play an important role in building our business. So too, a reliance strictly on traditional forms of advertising can hurt your business over time, especially where competition is stiff.
Social media giant Facebook can play an important role in helping to build brand awareness. Brand awareness can place a business , In fact, social media on its own is unlikely to build our business – unless it is the place all our customers hang out. For most businesses, that is not the case.
I’m not suggesting you abandon or slack off on your social media efforts. Not at all! It is the new frontier of marketing and almost all businesses can benefit by including it in their marketing strategy. And that’s the point: INCLUDING it. Not ignoring all other forms of marketing that can build your business but rather integrating social media into the mix.
Social media introduces us to new ways of communicating with our customers and potential customers. It allows us to not only share with them information that can be helpful, valuable and interesting to them but, as important, it provides a way for them to easily engage with us, if they so choose. But it alone won’t do the whole ‘marketing’ job for most of us.
Without social media we’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach potential new customers and existing customers. At the same time, ignoring other forms of marketing, particularly where we have invested significant thought, time and resources in them, can result in lost momentum. We can lose some of the brand recognition ground we’ve gained through neglecting other tried and true marketing strategies. Momentum lost is difficult and costly to regain.
So by all means, include social media in your strategy. But in the process don’t neglect other traditional forms of marketing that may still be an important part of the marketing mix for your business. Other options may include permission based email marketing, newsletters, e-newsletters, advertising in local newspapers and/or magazines, mass mail, Google AdWords, local radio advertising, etc. In fact, some of these traditional forms of marketing can be significantly more powerful when combined with social media.
The key is not to do it all but to identify the types of marketing strategies that fit your business and target audience, your goals and budget and your time frame. Then invest the resources needed, including time, to make it happen.
This article is updated from the original article written in 2012.