- October 04, 2012, Stephanie Millman
After a good 30-year run of leading marketing strategy, the "Traditional" Marketing tactics have been killed off by the "Social Era". I've had many follow-up discussions with readers of my recent blog post, "Marketing Is Dead", which reinforces that this change is in full swing.
What is most interesting to me is the divide in our industry. The younger generation, now in their mid-twenties and moving into purchasing & decision-making roles, have grown up using collaborative media and technology not only find information but also to provide reviews and feedback to their peers. Theirs is not the same frame of reference the leadership in our companies has. CEOs, product marketing management, and marketing communication leaders have been recognizing that the rules of engagement for marketing communication are very different now. We are no longer successful solely positioning ourselves as a big branded company since big organizations are now perceived as "untrustworthy" and "slow to respond" by the younger market. Instead we need to find ways to make meaningful connections with customers in ways that they value so they can build a closer relationship with our organization and become a champion of our products and services (providing reviews, statement, recommendations, "Like's" and "Share" activity). It's in this connecting model that leadership is completely out in left field. There is no silver bullet for how to make those connections, and it is driving the developers of market strategy crazy!
videos, engaging customers in groups on LinkedIn, "Tweeting" valuable information (which can have multiple contributors such a Product Managers, Presidents or anyone with insight and/or a big personality), and adding helpful links on customer service emails to your web, groups, and interactive communities or portals. Finally, look for ways to be more transparent and "social" to enrich customer connections by offering online contributions from customers as Starbucks has done (though a business-to-consumer model, consider the concept) by including their customers in polls and discussions. Technology can make a lot of this as easy as text messaging (as in my photo example shown here).Here are a few steps you can take toward being successful in the Social Era. First, stop promoting yourself as an 800-pound gorilla and start enabling your team of fast, nimble gazelles (employees), and train them to communicate with your market. It's the quick, small companies that are eating away at the larger proven brands because they are more responsive and able to connect with customers on a deeper, more meaningful level. Next, use new tactics to connect with customers. They can be as simple as posting more helpful
Of course, these rules of Marketing will change by culture and technology infrastructure. Companies with a strong presence in Asia, for example, will benefit from an equally 'traditional' and 'social' approach.
So what's going to happen? I believe that as time passes, the companies that choose to "wait & see" or continue to drag their feet and believe that the Social Era is a fad will be the ones to bleed and loose market share. Don't wait until the Death of Marketing kills your company too. Be quick, be nimble, try things and enable your teams to connect. You'll make mistakes; there are no home runs, but I implore you to step up to the plate and stay in the game.