Flash back 15 years ago and you’d probably classify marketing simply as advertising. Specifically paid advertising, but you may include the word of mouth advertising when one friend bragged about a new product he was using. Marketing has become a bit more complicated than that.
Marketing is not just advertising anymore: Marketing is now part advertising and huge part public relations. What used to be a mostly media driven area of business has become much broader. Public Relations now targets actually communicating with the public through online forums.
Papa, don’t preach: People are more interested in getting their information black with no cream. They want honesty, transparency and they want to be involved. Instead of filling their heads with fancy promises of looking cool or being popular, your customers are looking for something a little more realistic.
Marketing is heavily web-based: While traditional advertising is still in full swing, a major shift in focus has landed on the web. Small and big businesses alike are beginning to recognize that there is a large population of people on the internet to be catered to. Because the internet is so vast and reaches a lot of people, companies have had to develop strategies to reach their target audience instead of tailoring their marketing to the mass market.
Online content drives sales: Customers are making more purchases online. They are more active online. Whether they are accessing the internet from their home computer, tablet or smart phones, there are people online all the time. The majority of people in the United States can access the internet instantaneously.
Because people are constantly turning to the internet for their information you have to have great content on your website to get people to buy. Customers also expect more from the companies they purchase from: more information. Providing free, reliable, relevant, useful information is vital to driving your online sales.
Online marketing has made it much easier for customers to know your company, but it’s also made it more important for businesses to know and understand their customers. In a way this has made marketing more personal. Small businesses in particular need to recognize their customer’s problems and figure out how they can solve them.
This is made much easier by utilizing social media tools. For larger companies it’s still problematic finding ways to reach the individual customers. Smaller businesses actually benefit more because they are able to personally reach a larger percentage of their customer base.
By throwing away your old view of marketing and jumping in to the new view of marketing with both feet, you’ll free yourself of inhabitations and more easily embrace the new way of getting to your customers.