I’ve been reading Seth Godin’s book called “Meatball Sundae”. He talks about how companies that used to thrive on mass production and mass advertising and may not thrive in the world of “new marketing” where there is a need to talk directly to the consumer and also respond to a demand for more customization to a consumer’s needs. He talks about changing from finding customers for your products to finding products for your customers. He gives a great example of an online t-shirt company called “Threadless”, that invites consumers to submit their own designs for their t-shirts as well as to enter contests where their design may be promoted to others. He also discusses how many companies will try to use social media or other new marketing techniques but not change the basic design of how they serve their customers, and this will cause failure.
So what does this mean to you or your company? One thing that is becoming clear to me is the need for some differentiation of how social media works for different audiences. Many of the social media articles or talks that I have attended seem to focus on reaching the consumer through social media venues that those consumers may be participating in. (B2C marketing) On the other hand, in selling to organizations, many decision makers do not have a Facebook page (unless they have older kids and want to keep up to date on what they are doing). They also do not have a blog, or Twitter account. A small number are on LinkedIn but seldom go there. They still may consider these things a waste of time. So how do we reach them with “new” marketing?
Here’s my current thinking on this. Almost everyone “Google’s” for things that they are looking for, whether for business or personal. Working with keywords and other Google optimization can be helpful. Google will find keywords in your webite and blogs and apparently loves You Tube videos, so it means that although this audience may not always find us through the social media directly, using it can help them find you through Google. Then, over time, if these customers start using social media, you will already be there.
In the end, I still believe that the relationships that you can develop are how you will grow your business. There are many more opportunities to do that online with social media. However, people also crave personal contact and so I see a growth in “blended” social media arrangements where people can connect both online and in person.
I would love to hear your thoughts.