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Basic marketing principles are as true today as they were when first formulated; adherence to the “Four Ps” of Marketing: Product, Price, Place and Promotion, are still valid in the digital age. The “tools” may have changed, but the buying public will never change, because people and their motivations remain the same.
If this is the way your company is operating today, perhaps some rethinking might be in order.
At least one professional who has studied the trends, Ilana Rabinowitz, vice president of marketing for Lion Brand Yarn, totally disagrees. She contends that effective marketing in the modern world, for today’s business, is totally different from what it was as recently as five years ago. She goes so far as to suggest that marketing textbooks should be tossed out; that marketing professionals must learn an entirely new set of rules and be prepared to adapt to rapidly changing conditions in order to serve clients today. In fact, she suggests that there really are no rules to rely on today.
Business as Usual?
In trying to sell your product or service, are you trying to pursue business as usual, but also managing to throw a few “crumbs” to social media sites in the way of periodic posts, photographs or videos? Are you happy with the results? Is your business growing, and are you receiving any benefit from your internet marketing efforts?
If you are less than enthusiastic about your current marketing results consider these points:
The new digital “tools” require a shift of focus for businesses which hope to compete favorably for online sales. Already there is a new breed of consumer who is much more independent, better informed, more impatient, and highly distrustful of advertising claims. For the business, empathy, caring and social consciousness seem to go hand in hand with social media, and marketing cannot ignore the importance of relating and involvement. Another attribute that matters little is size. Connection is significant.
New Tools – Big Results?
The process has also been altered. While the job of business may have turned more to education than sales and promotion, any interaction is more likely to be customer-driven, from initiation of contact through timing of the sale. Because shopping does not have to occur during normal business hours, it is imperative that the online presence of any business be informative and engaging, designed to spur action or at least to prompt a decision to buy. Consumers are much more likely to find you online; however, because there is likely to be more competition, the effort to turn contact into sales is more difficult.
Rabinovitz speaks of the need for a business of any size to adopt an entrepreneurial spirit, and to become creative in the use of video, even smart phones, to offer a unique experience to the online customer. She also notes that online marketing, if it is created with the consumer in mind, can be very inexpensive and widely disseminated with great results.
Technology has made it possible to “clone” a presentation, and this expert suggests that a personal touch — a how-to demonstration or a welcome message from the chief executive, a personal video thank you to a special customer, or a targeted reply to a question all can be the basis for video shorts on a blog or a website, or aired on a You-Tube channel. Sharing corporate news or personal experiences of new product information, or stories with a human interest angle, even employee volunteer activities in the community, all serve to promote your company and advertise your products or service.
What about the Future?
If one thing is certain, it is that the internet will continue to evolve. If you think it’s hard to stay abreast of new developments today, it may become even more difficult in the not-so-distant future. One resource you have available is the internet itself. Sites which allow you to compare services, review products and browse real user responses might just become your best friends. VirtualHosting.com is an example of such a site: unique, informative, and very helpful.
Affiliate marketing, a symbiotic relationship between you and other businesses or sites which are financially beneficial and promotes business and contacts in both directions, is quickly becoming a must for any business. There are many ways to accomplish such marketing, so find the one that is right and seems like a natural fit.
One thing has not changed: the importance of the Unique Selling Proposition.
Wading through the alphabet soup that swirls around online topics – SEO, VPS, and SSI – is a bit like being dropped into a foreign country. While various “experts” offer varied advice, the most logical restate what has always been true: Quality Matters. Whatever your do, try to do it well. Tofsy, however, more than ever before, buyers are looking for a personal message. People buy from people, caution the gurus. Big business is by its nature impersonal.
But, again, as Rabinovitz says, “Be extraordinary. . . . Today this means being more meaningful, being better at whatever it is that you promise, and creating a better experience.” It is this principle, she notes, that has withstood technology and time, and likely will last into the future.