Are you a business executive struggling with the issue that what worked a few years ago is not working today? Trust me, you are not alone. As part of my consulting practice I am constantly doing research on the future of marketing. I have spent the last several months focused on why everything has changed so much. To start with, there has been a dramatic change in how people communicate, learn and act. How did this happen and how did it happen so fast? Well the mass adoption of three technologies (broadband internet, mobile internet and social media) all happening simultaneously have created a perfect storm. A rare combination of circumstances that has forever changed the way we buy, sell and live.
The internet has been around for what seems to be a long time now, but it is only recently that people have seen broadband internet as a must-have at home and as well at the workplace. Marketing rapidly adapted to that change and started to move to online advertising and use of video like never seen before. People now "need" not "want" mobile internet at high speeds as well. Combine these two elements with the reality that you are not a player in this world unless you have some type of social media presence and you have the perfect storm.
The traditional sales process which is still in place today is that a sales representative gets connected with a prospect and leads them through the discovery and education process which hopefully ends up in the prospect becoming a customer. Today your prospects are shopping without you! They may identify themselves and when they come to the table they are self-educated about your products and your attitude toward business. They often times know more than your sales representative knows.
Today, people don’t want to be sold to, they want to be engaged and then they may buy from you. Some recent studies indicate that 71% of all business to business buyers start with Google search and that the buyer finds the seller 80% of the time.
Marketing today is all about influencing people before you get to engage them. If you are a marketing professional you have heard of the 4 P’s of Marketing (Product, Price, Place and Promotion). Well now you have to add a fifth element – PEOPLE; not only your people but the people who make the decisions on whether or not to purchase your product. Targeted messaging should be the key business strategy for forward thinking companies today. Targeted messaging provides you the means to shape opinions and motivate behavior.
Many of the Fortune 500 companies have already developed messaging strategies and implemented them effectively in the market. But, they have large marketing budgets and can afford the new skill sets required to develop and implement this type of strategy. These companies are innovators and early adopters of a holistic communication strategy. Some mid-market companies fall into the early adopter category but it is by no means mainstream yet. This means that small and medium businesses (the heart of American economic success) can achieve significant competitive advantage by developing and implementing a communication strategy ahead of the curve.
In the recent eBook "What Successful Companies Know About Social Media Communication Strategy That You May Not" how to deal with this new phenomenon is explored in detail.