Marketing is no longer purely transactional. Historically, the major measure to assess whether a company’s marketing was effective, or not, was Return On Investment (ROI). A company would undertake, for example, a direct mail campaign and the metrics they would look at were the number of responses and deals done.
For a vast majority of companies Social Media is still new. However, because many of the customers a business would like to reach, spend an increasing amount of time on these platforms, companies have come to recognize the importance of being involved. Therein the frustration starts to build. Businesses recognize the importance of social media and yet are struggling to make it work in any tangible way.
The Web has enabled all of us to create and access this knowledge, in a way not previously known. So, for example, we can follow the collective train of thought, on any particular issue of the day, by following the comments posted on Twitter. We can evaluate the best place to stay, when abroad, by tapping into the collective wisdom on a website like tripadvisor.com.
‘Old Marketing’ was transactional in nature. One would organise a direct mail, telemarketing or advertising campaign, and one would measure the results obtained. If it achieved a ‘return on investment’ the campaign was deemed successful. If not, it failed. As soon as activities were undertaken, e.g., phone calls were made or letters landed on the doormat of prospects, one could hope to receive some sort of response. Therefore, using this old model there was always a possibility of some ‘quick wins’.
There is an adage which is regularly used by ‘progressive’ marketers today. That is, marketing is no longer about broadcast messaging as it was before the Web. Rather, marketing is now about engaging with customers via online tools where customers have the right of reply. Consequently, marketing becomes less about broadcast messaging and more about a conversation. That is the move from ‘one way communication’ to ‘two way communication’.
The old adage; ‘The Customer is King’ came from a time when companies aimed to provide great customer service for their clientele. Great service was literally about serving customers. In other words, service was something done to a customer.
In traditional marketing, companies succeeded by ‘shouting’ their message very loudly. Whether this ‘shouting’ was delivered via advertising on TV and radio,on billboards and in newspapers, or via direct channels such as direct mail or cold calling, a marketing department’s job was to choose the channels which would capture the most attention of their particular client base.
Social Media now accounts for almost a third of all activity undertaken on the Web. A lot is spoken about how it can be a fantastic tool for companies to accelerate growth. However, many businesses venture into this brave new world only to be left disappointed with the results.
I have this theory that ‘social media gurus’ are like Gremlins. In the 1980’s film, Gremlins would reproduce if they got wet. Thus, thousands of Gremlins could be created from a simple splash of water.