'What is the future of marketing?' , remains a question that yields a variety of answers, depending on who you are.
My small town is chock-full of internet- fearing businesses owners. Local- yocals who stand fast to their tried and true marketing strategy of one Yellow Pages ad mixed with a vigorous tucking- homemade- fliers- under -car -windshields campaign. Their businesses appear to be thriving, despite their marketing time warp. Thus leaving them difficult and uneasy to bring to the other side.
A recent interview with a long-time Contractor, in the business of renovating homes in my neighborhood for the past 25 years, revealed the reluctance. My offer to feature his business on my hyper- local niche website, fell on deaf ears, as he handed me his simple business card. Clueless, I asked him for his website address, with an offer of a photo- filled blog post and back-link gold. His response was a blank stare. The short conversation ended with an awkward, 'I'm guessing you don't have email ? His simple reply of, 'nope', summed it up. Not a tweet, nor post, nor link would be gained nor shared with this savvy business man. His marketing was working just fine. Nothing I could say or do would convince him of how bright his future really is.
This working -Joe, and so many others like him, equipped only with a van and a tool belt, don't know from the internet and its marketing power. In their word -of- mouth- is -all -I -need business, they have yet to embrace to social media strategy. Many of them may still be punching out estimates on a Commodore 64, I assume. The social media bandwagon has left them at the station. For them, the future of marketing, has yet to arrive.
For the rest of us, who see the future right in front of us, our work is cut out for us, convincing others that there is a little more to marketing than asking your nephew to build you a website, or your neighbor's teenage daughter to run your Facebook page. They, too, remain leaps and bounds behind the businesses who realized early, that their customers are hanging on Foursquare, lurking on Facebook, and tweeting their every move on Twitter. They get it, and have positioned themselves there for the long haul. This marketing mindset, of being where your potential customers are, is a far cry from loading parked cars with your homemade fliers. In essence, one could argue that both groups get it. A little convincing and a smart phone may be all it takes to show the business owners in my town, the new way.
The future of marketing, filled with buzz words like 'content' and 'engagement' will forge the way into the new frontier. A generation of learn- as -we- go -marketers creating the rules and paving the way.
As a Social Media Manager, it's my job to post, tweet, and engage for small businesses. I bring them to the social media party. But showing up is half the task. As their social media 'mingler', I must be the coolest, wittiest, person at the party. Saying (posting) share worthy content for all to hear (read: Share). Some days that content can be a simple shot of my morning Starbucks cup, often generating more favorable insights than a stock photo of the company's logo.
Inbound marketers are not only expected to be the cool crowd at the party, they also have to transfer those laughs and “LIKE”s into sales. For this is why we market, no?
Marketing, by nature, is developing a relationship. Courting the customer. The future of marketing and its goal will never change. 'Hey facebook fan, we're friends, right? You like my stuff, I like your stuff, and eventually, over time, you will buy my stuff because you trust me. Also? Admit it, you really dig the funny things I post.
My local realtor gets marketing, that's why he sends me junk mail once a month. I call it junk mail, he calls it a strategic marketing plan. Tomato, tom-ahto. His aggressive direct mail campaign, appears to be a waste of marketing money, yet when I'm ready to sell my home I'll most likely call the guy who sent me cheesy mini calendars and coupons all year long. It's the beauty of marketing. Courting your potential sales can happen online, via social media, or right in your mailbox. The goal remains the same.
The sooner my hometown business owners set up functioning websites and start tweeting, the better.
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.