By: Linda Kaun
New Marketing Rules: Ready or Not?
Are you "joining the conversation" of Web 2.0 or Social Media marketing yet?
It'd be pretty hard not to be familiar with the tools associated with social media by now...blogs, podcasts, online video, RSS, customer review sites, social networking, webinars and so on.
When I look at various websites or speak with some B2B marketers though, I still see a big gap in understanding what is behind social media marketing and how it impacts their business today.
What does all this really mean? Does this actually make a difference to how you do business? Can't you just add some of these new tools to your marketing and expect better results? In fact, the point of social media marketing is a 180-degree shift in thinking you must understand if youre going to use it to your advantage.
First, think about how traditional marketing is a one-way communication channel. TV commercials, direct mail, ads in a trade publication or magazine all push their product or service onto the target audience. That audience can accept or reject it, but they have no way to interact with it...to talk back.
Along came the Internet and completely changed all our lives.
Suddenly the so-called target audience became marketers themselves. All sorts of rating and review sites like Amazon, eBay, and Trip Advisor got started long before millions of blogs, YouTube and social networking sites came on board.
Consumers have gotten used to comparing others views and expressing their own opinions, rating books they read, hotels they stay at, restaurants they eat in...all online for all the world to see.
The key result of these changes for marketers is the shift in perception of what marketing is all about. It has come to be known as "The Share Economy." A model of collaboration. A give and take of ideas and opinions. It's active listening and making a contribution that others can benefit from.
The old top-down model is simply not going to work for your business anymore. A marketer telling their audience what they should think or feel about a product is taken with a hearty dose of skepticism these days.
So if that's not working, what is? Buying and selling of goods and services is not going away anytime soon-regardless of what shape the economy is in. What does that mean to say we have a share economy? How does that change your marketing? And how does all this fit into the B2B market?
B2B and Social Media
The B2B market has been slower to catch on to the vast opportunities new social media offers. The following briefly convey what the new rules of marketing are and how they can benefit your business.
1. Build for long-term relationships
By offering your prospects a "slow drip" method of getting to know you through a variety of channels, your chance of building a long-term relationship is greatly enhanced.
And the key to the new marketing is just that-using these new tools to build a relationship. If you have the old marketing mindset of pushing your product or service onto an audience to make a quick sale, youll miss out on the potential rewards social media offers.
Don't talk at your prospects; talk with them. Join the conversation. Have a dialogue, not a monologue. The Internet has given rise to many professional networks in your target market that cut across geographic boundaries. Use social media tools to facilitate the conversations among these groups. Don't jump in and start pushing your products or services. Instead...
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3. Learn how to listen
It's not about you. It's all about what your prospect needs and wants and how you can be a solution to their problems and concerns. Of course this is basic marketing 101. But these interactive tools allow you to know and understand your market in ways that were previously impossible.
If you put into place a specific process to gather market information about your company, your competitors, and your industry, you'll have access to a gold mine. Gain insights from this free knowledge base to improve your products and services, expand into new markets, and create new products.
4. Be a thought leader
At the same time, by providing valuable content on your website, sending a regular newsletter, starting a blog if that's appropriate, or hosting podcasts, webinars or teleseminars, your prospects will look to you as a trusted advisor, a partner in their business. Go beyond the sellers mentality and think of ways you can contribute to your prospect's businesses.
Take Away Points
The social media platforms, the new tools in your toolbox-blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars, teleseminars and so on-will not in and of themselves do anything for your business. It's what you do with them to engage your prospects in a whole different process of working together with you that will bring long lasting success.
Some companies feel threatened by the openness required in this new marketing era. The real threat though is standing by on the sidelines. Expanded opportunities to grow your business far outweigh any perceived threat.
About the Author
Linda Kaun of 'Linda Kaun Copywriting' works with marketing managers at B2B textile companies whose written marketing communication materials are not effectively generating the leads and sales they need, either off or online. Her copywriting brings higher responses, more qualified leads and greater ROI. Free white paper is available to download, "The Textile Industry and the New Social Media: Why You Must Take Action Now And How to Profit from this Information Revolution," at www.lindakauncopywriting.com/whitepaper.php
The information expressed are personal views of the author. Here 'I' refers to her.
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