It’s a great time to be a marketer. The Internet and social media have changed the game completely in less than a decade. TV advertising, although still restricted to those with big budgets, is no longer as effective as it was when there were only two commercial channels. Now there are hundreds, and in addition the web offers other types of entertainment. So grabbing people’s attention is much harder.
Back before video and TiVo/Sky+ the only way to escape an advert was to mute, or turn off, or go and make a cup of tea. Now you can flash through it. Consumers are no longer interrupted by marketing communications. They can ignore us. They are in control.
But whilst they can shut the adverts out, consumers still have an insatiable thirst for knowledge. If they want to buy a new pair of shoes they’ll most likely Google the brand. Looking for a hotel in Spain, they’ll go online and look for reviews on TripAdviser. And they’ll ask specific questions like, “What’s the best Indian Restaurant in Preston?” Or, “Where can I find a Personal Trainer in Luton?”
Businesses who provide content that answers these specific questions will find their customers coming to them. Actually seeking them out. Social media and the web means that marketers can create a fine mesh of links from Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIin, Pinterest to their own content of web pages, blogs, Q&As, videos, podcasts, white papers, and info-graphics. Interruption marketing (TV adverts, Billboards, posters) is giving way to content marketing. And whilst the former will never disappear, the advertisers have to work harder to successfully interrupt their customers and get them to react.
The great thing about this is that really powerful marketing is now much more accessible to smaller businesses with tighter budgets. And another advantage a small company is that they won’t be constrained by their own departments. In some places there is so much resistance to social media and online content that they create their own barriers to taking advantage of technology.
Social media is often blocked from employees. The HR department don’t want their staff on Facebook when they should be working now do they? But here’s the thing. This is no different to when individual phones started to appear on people’s desks. In those days, HR’s argument was that staff would spend all their time on the phone talking to friends. It didn’t happen.
It’s never been about the technology? It wasn’t back then and it isn’t now. It’s always been about managing the staff. Don’t block social media, because in reality your staff might be able to help promote the company or create good content for you.
Then there is the IT departments. Why do some IT departments hate social media marketing?
Why to they never phone you up and say, “Listen we’ve just seen this new App, and the marketing opportunities for you are amazing”? No, it’s me that phones them and says, “I’ve just seen this new App and the marketing opportunities are amazing?”
And they say, “We can’t let you use that we haven’t the bandwidth.”
Or, “We’ll leave ourselves open to infection with nasty viruses.”
Or, “We can’t take the risk of data leakage.”
You can’t fight against innovation you need to embrace it. No doubt some people resisted in introduction of mobile phones and of the Internet itself. But now it’s impossible to imagine life without these. But HR and IT resistance can hinder big businesses and give smaller players the advantage.
Social media and content are changing the way we engage with consumers, and unlike traditional marketing communications channels they are not restricted to those with huge advertising budgets.
The smallest business can take advantage of these wonderful innovations and make themselves visible. And when you are visible and you give people answers they want, they will want to do business with you.
Over to you: Have you experienced resistance to using social media from your own HR and IT departments? How have you addressed their concerns. Have you got them on board? Please leave a comment by clicking on “leave a reply” below here.