The pervasive presence and overwhelming influence of social media in our daily lives is forcing business owners to change their marketing strategies or face extinction. Today's marketing climate is reminiscent of the computer revolution that separated inflexible old-schoolers from forward-thinking risk-takers. Business dinosaurs who clung doggedly to their typewriters and fax machines quickly succumbed, choked by the dust as their more flexible, forward-thinking peers stampeded past. The advent of mobile phones and then cell phones marked another critical turning point in the evolution of business marketing. Today, social media has pushed U.S. business to another crossroads that is destined to change the face of business marketing.
For decades, marketing strategies have relied on trade shows, seminars, email blasts, internal cold calls, telemarketing and advertising to generate leads and attract customers. Collectively referred to as outbound marketing, these marketing techniques focus on blasting your message OUT to huge numbers of consumers in the hopes of connecting with a few. The problem today is that consumers have become pretty savvy about blocking those attempts to connect. From telephone answering machines to computer spam filters to commercial-less Tivo and Sirius, consumers have become adept at avoiding outbound marketing ploys. Despite the fact that most companies still devote nearly 90% of their budgets to outbound marketing, it has become today's dinosaur. Don't get me wrong, there's still room for mixing in outbound techniques as part of an overall marketing campaign. But the days of 100% outbound marketing are rapidly approaching extinction.
The ever-increasing availability, accessibility and mobility of computer connectivity through smartphones, tablets and notepads have shifted consumer interest to Internet-based social media. The universal popularity of Facebook and Twitter combined with omnipresent cell phones and America's love of texting has transformed communication and consumer expectations. Consumers are no longer content to wait for an email response to a question or problem. Twitter has ramped up the importance of immediacy in business-consumer relations. In a recent Time magazine article, a columnist tracked response time to a customer complaint. When email response was at 48 hours and counting, he Tweeted about his problem and received a response within 2 hours.
To catch the attention of today's consumer, marketing strategies must now focus on interactive social media that lure consumers IN to their websites. Savvy marketers are spending their marketing capital on social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn. They're creating blogs, Twitter accounts and YouTube videos to appeal to today's constantly plugged-in consumer. Called inbound marketing, these social media marketing venues are the wave of the future -- and the future is now!
Are you making the switch? We can help with the transition.
Photo credit: slworking2