We are currently living in the midst of a ‘communication revolution’. It affects every facet of society, the likes of which we have not seen since the industrial revolution. The way we shop, work, educate our children and interact with each other is changing. No area of life is being left untouched.
Some marketers will tell you it is business as normal, that digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube just represent new opportunities to communicate. They simply add to the more traditional vehicles such as direct mail and telemarketing. The fundamental principles of marketing, however, have not changed.
These marketers are wrong.
At the heart of marketing, is the ability to communicate effectively. However, with communication changing so dramatically, it is illogical that marketing could have stayed the same.
We are responding to information differently, as the combination of mobile technology and the world wide web provides us with 24/7 access to practically any information we are ever likely to need or use. The result is that much of the traditional ‘shouting of messages’, in which businesses previously engaged, has now lost its value. It is, therefore, becoming less effective.
Moreover, people are exposed to much greater choice as the world wide web has lowered the cost of entering the market, and enabled niche players to be able to make the financials of their business work. It has also lifted the geographical restrictions on many of the choices we make.
The most important aspect of this ‘communication revolution’ however, is that for the first time in history, everyone has their own channel. We no longer need media companies to enable us to get our work read, or record companies for our music to be heard. Mobile technology has enabled us to access these channels at every moment we experience. The wide uptake of social platforms are a result of this phenomenon.
Consequently, we are witnessing the ‘socialisation of information’. Progressively, information is being distributed via conversation rather than publication. Increasingly, people are learning about significant events from friends on social platforms before hearing about them from more traditional media.
The magnitude of this is vast. ‘Social proof’, that is; what other people say and do, has always been one of the biggest influencers on human behaviour. However, in this ‘hyper-connected’ world which we now inhabit, this ‘social proof’ is now easier to access than ever before.
As the web and search become more social, we can see what friends and colleagues think before we make purchasing decisions. Digital makes it more probable that this information is available and these opinions are shared. This means that a company’s best marketers today are likely to be the customers, prospects and wider community of suppliers and partners etc., with whom it is engaged.
With all this disruption in the market:
• How do businesses put effective marketing strategies together?
What are the new principles which should be guiding the best in marketing today?
How do you ‘win’ customers in a digital age?
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