By Leonardo Ramirez: First a husband and a dad and then a Science Fiction author. The opinions and views expressed within these articles are the opinions of the designated authors and do not reflect the opinions or views of Inbound Marketing Agents, LLC , any of our affiliates, associated companies or individuals.
When the stock price of Facebook plunged downward like Wile E. Coyote running off a canyon cliff, shareholders dumped their bag of pebbled shares which made for an even faster descent down the canyon walls. This left the rest of us wondering about the future of Zuckerberg’s college dorm project and whether or not he had peaked too soon. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Facebook just like the next guy. It’s put me in touch with relatives I’ve not heard from in years, helped me to promote my science fiction books and helped finally answer the question of how much work it takes to run a farm.
But last week my publicist informed me that I will not see all posts by my Facebook friends and that instead, the social site will be adjusting my news feed to show me what they think I should see according to trends in interest. I didn’t care to hear that. My response to her was that we needed to pull as many folks in to our website forum and try to get them to engage there in case the zombie apocalypse decides to hit social media. I’ll continue to use FB but if that trend continues (and who’s to say that it won’t) I’ll have to make some decisions about where my friends and fans can chat without being tracked or manipulated.
This lovely tide brings to mind what the future of marketing may hold. I’m a big believer in learning from history and I think that the secret to future marketing can be found in the past and be encompassed in a simple phrase: authentic relational marketing.
I know it sounds like a contradiction but I’ve come to the conclusion that if you keep relationships at the core of whatever it is you’re doing you’ll be successful. People know when you really care about them and when you don’t and that carries through in the “outer layer” of the marketing tactic you may employ.
Take Transmedia Storytelling for example. Transmedia storytelling, in short, is storytelling across multiple platforms in such a way that involves the audience. In my new Children’s Steampunk book, The Jupiter Chronicles, the character of Callie has her own Twitter account which uses first person. Followers can easily engage the character and ask her questions as if she were real. She may even share an aspect in the universe that is not in the book but is part of the overall picture. Likewise, you can add YouTube videos that tell a different angle from the same book and get your audience to vote on an outcome. These are things that ask for audience participation. It sends the message to your audience that you care about them and about the development of your story. In some instances the line between reality and fantasy are blurred.
Another example of Transmedia storytelling was when we released a video detailing the Dante family line just before the release. The characters in the video were not in the story but were part of the main character’s (Haven of Dante) life.
We even included a timeline in the marketing of the graphic novel prior to release.
Here’s an excerpt:
HAVEN of DANTE TIMELINE
1265-1321 - Dante Alighieri travels through the nine circles of hell
1321-1366 - UNCIVIL WAR -Members of the nine circles of hell fight for leadership and form the Aristocracy.
1366 - The Witness initiates contact with the Line to combat the Aristocracy. Clues of periodic contact are left in clues throughout history. Members of the Line are given varying degrees of power.
1760-1848 – Benjamin Esteban Dante sought amnesty from England and fought bravely onthe side of these Colonial United States.
There are other events that led up to today.
TMS is growing steadily with viral videos releasing before major motion picture releases like The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises.
From the author’s point of reference, blogging is a tried and true way of being relational to your audience and it’s a means to that end that we seem to have drifted away from. I’m finding on my own blog that the more personal I am in my posts, the more engaged the audience is. Keeping it real and authentic is what keeps people coming back for more and at whatever point they are ready, to support you financially in the purchase of your product or service.
The last entry in what I believe is the future of marketing can be summed up in one simple word.
Caring for others, standing alongside charitable organizations and freely offering yourself to others. Every year, the Healthy Fathering Collaborative of Greater Cleveland has an event called, “Father’s Walk” where they encourage dads to walk their kids to school and spend time with their kids.
I grew up without a father figure in my life so this was a partnership that I was more than happy to jump on. We gave away two print copies of The Jupiter Chronicles and free downloads of the same for participants. There were about 250+ downloads on that day and the prizes went to two very deserving dads.
Whatever the future of marketing holds, it must have at its core the benefit of its audience. It should be a reflection of times that are changing it’s not just about turning a profit but about keeping others at the forefront of the method.
The future of marketing is in selflessness.