Story after story appearing lately regarding traditional media shows notable declines in numbers and thus effectiveness. Seems the observations and predictions noted the Bob Garfield’s book, “The Chaos Scenario” is reality. Duh! People are changing how they get information and that is impacting the effectiveness of advertising in traditional mass media.
Just look at these two articles appeared this week in the marketing trade sites:
Both articles report effectiveness of traditional media is down and there is a shift by the consumer to online channels. This does not mean that traditional media is dead, or something that you no longer need to include as part of an overall marketing program. It just means you really need to consider shifting how you are distributing your marketing dollars.
OK, how many of you still have a land-line phone? I dropped mine earlier this year. My two sons never had one. Twenty-six percent of Nebraskans no longer have a traditional land line phone.
How many of you still subscribe to cable or satellite TV? According to a study released in March of this years, the Convergence Consulting Group discovered in a 2008 and 2009, 800,000 people had dropped Cable TV in favor of getting entertainment via the Internet. This week Google announced its TV product. It will be something used on Android phones and using high-speed connection to allow users to search the web, your cable system, or recorded shows and push the shows to your TV. It is no wonder this study also predicted that the 800K number will double with another 1.6 million people dropping cable and satellite TV by the end of 2011!
Truly this time period can be called the time of becoming unplugged and also one of convergence. We are becoming unplugged from traditional mass media and using mobile phones for more than just conversations. Take my Smartphone, an HTC Touch Pro using the Windows mobile platform. As part of my Sprint plan, I not only get talk minutes, there is unlimited data for email and web, texting, navigation that rivals my Garmin unit, and I can watch TV using Sprint TV. Granted it is on a small screen (I am waiting for the Windows 7 devices to come out, but have been considering moving to an Android unit like my wife’s HTC Hero), but the convergence is taking place be fore our eyes and well … ears.
The effectiveness decrease in B2C mass media is also taking place B2B media as well. Both the economy and the changes how businesses solve their problems is making the usual B2B media channels less effective. May I suggest you read David Meerman Scott’s book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” This book is like the “bible” for marketers to navigate the new minefields of the marketplace.
Now back to the question I titled this post with, “Where should you be placing your marketing dollars?” With the shift in how people are using media, a shift needs to take place in your marketing strategy from traditional to online and that includes social media. This does not mean a 100% shift, but a portion of your marketing efforts need to be made online. Traditional media still has a place in your marketing strategy for branding, awareness and yes, lead
gen/sales depending upon your business type. More and more, however, you need to move marketing efforts online.
First, know what your buyers (that is to say both your prospects and customers) are doing. What keywords and phrases they are using. Where they are conversing – social media. In the IT world, I learned this phase was called Buyer Persona Research. Sounds more complicated than what it is, but conducting this research is crucial to understanding and putting a face on your typical buyer. Spread this information around your organization so everyone knows the make-up of your buyer and not just some mythical person “out there” that is looking to solve a problem.
Second, develop a strategy that includes social media and the web and know why you are utilizing the tools you select. The tools need to be based on the research that comes out of the First step – Buyer Persona Research. More importantly, you need to have a reason to be using the tools which is more than “because they are there” or “everyone is using Twitter.” You cannot use social media tools using traditional marketing push messaging. Social media is conversationally based with many-to-many dialogs, not like traditional media with one-to-many monologues.
Third, improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through using the new social media tools. You need to be optimizing your web site and other channels where your buyers are located to bring them back to your web site. Populate your page descriptions with the keywords and phrases your buyers are using. links from high-value web sites back to your web site will raising the page rankings and organic search results for the solutions you offer to solve buyer problems.
Within the next five years, every company will be using social media on one form or another. The question you need to answer is do you want to be out in front of your competition in this? Or are you satisfied in being a follower of your competition?
Begin slowly to expand into the social media field, bring on board those people that can help you successfully navigate this new frontier to market you business.