The New Marketing Paradigm

Today’s digital technology has brought about a sea change in how businesses and prospects interact.

Unlike the old days of marketing, where a business was (largely) in control of the way their image was projected to the outside world, today’s marketing paradigm has the consumer in the proverbial driver’s seat.  It’s the consumer who now decides what she needs to know in order to make her buying decisions, and she’ll go get that knowledge herself, thank you very much.  And chances are, it’s not some flashy campaign or clever tagline that’ll do the trick.  Rather, it’s genuine engagement and transparency that will win her over.

The world communicates differently now—this isn’t a secret and it isn’t news. But old habits die hard, especially in marketing.  With all manner of digital communication allowing information to transfer from one source to another faster than ever, this New Marketing Paradigm is one where…

  1. A consumer now has the ability – and even the expectation – to learn a lot about your brand long before she will ever do business with you.
  2. Two-way conversations between consumer and business are now the norm.
  3. Transparency and trust are non-negotiable when it comes to winning (and keeping) a customer.

Check Out Before Check Out

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

In the past, the traditional advertising and marketing paradigm were about crafting a clever message, tagline, logo, or campaign…a message so unique and wonderful that it would compel the consumer to get out their wallet.  Anyone who’s seen “Mad Men” will be familiar with the approach:  “We are going to tell you what you want to hear, and when it works, you are going to come and do business with us.”

Well, dear marketer, gone are the days where you can mesmerize your customers into buying from you.

The New Marketing Paradigm:

With the explosion of social media like blogs, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and review sites, a potential customer will not be so easily wooed.  They now have the power at their fingertips do quite a bit of sleuthing before handing over their hard-earned dough.  They’ll check out your website and blog to see if what you believe in is what they believe in.  They’ll check out review sites to learn what others’ interactions with you have been like.  They’ll ask their friends on Facebook or their connections on LinkedIn for recommendations.  And guess what?  They can do all that without ever interacting with you directly!

So in the New Marketing Paradigm, your marketing efforts MUST include a plan for establishing and maintaining a polished and authentic digital presence.  Your website, blog and other social channels need fresh and consistent content that shows your potential customer what it will be like to work with you.

Social Channels are for Conversations

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

Under the Old Marketing Paradigm, marketing and advertising was thought of in terms of one-way messaging.  Your brilliant marketing campaign – that you created and had control over – would be broadcast via one-way channels like TV, radio and print.  And when your campaign didn’t work as planned, or when you wanted to try a new approach or even change your very identity, you could simply ‘turn off’ the old message and reinvent your brand with a new one.  And because you had so much control over what was said, to whom it was being said, and when they would hear it, you could (with some degree of certainty) measure the return on your advertising investment.

My how times have changed.

The New Marketing Paradigm:

Marketing your brand is no longer about broadcasting your super-creative messages to a targeted group of recipients.  Success under the New Marketing Paradigm is about engaging consumers (and prospects) in an actual, genuine, two-way conversation, allowing them to get to know you before, during and even after it’s time for them to buy.

Social channels like Facebook, Twitter and even your own blog now provide the perfect venue for this kind of interaction.  Your customers and prospects are already spending a significant amount of time there, asking questions and having a two-way dialogue, so you’ll want to make sure you’re there, too, being a part of the conversation.  And although marketing in this way might be a lot of work, it has two distinct advantages:

  1. Loyalty – Two-way social marketing enables you to develop meaningful relationships with your customers, and the more meaningful the relationship, the more loyal the customer tends to be.
  2. Intelligence – Every conversation is like a mini-focus group, allowing you to learn about what is important to your customers and prospects.  Businesses pay research companies HUGE money to learn about the preferences and dislikes of their customers.  For the first time in history, your own social channels offer you ready access to such crucial information.  All you’ve got to do is ask.  You’ll be amazed at how forthcoming your customers are with meaningful info that will ultimately enable you to serve them even better.

And while it may feel like you have less control in this New Marketing Paradigm, you actually can control (and even measure the impact of) what is being said about you…by simply being present and being yourself.

And speaking of ‘being yourself’…

Welcome to the Age of Transparency

The Old Marketing Paradigm:

In the Old Marketing Paradigm you never got any measurable feedback from a customer until they bought or complained.  Similarly, under that old paradigm, customer ‘issues’ were addressed behind closed doors, one customer at a time.  Here’s how it used to work:  a disgruntled customer would make a call or send an email, it would be forwarded to a customer service specialist who was specially trained to handle such matters, and the specialist would respond directly to that customer with a resolution.  No one (except for that particular customer) ever knew how well (or badly) your business dealt with its customers.

So what does customer service look like under the New Marketing Paradigm?

The New Marketing Paradigm:

Like it or not, we have entered the Age of Transparency.  More than ever before, there’s an alarming amount of information readily available for all the world to see about each of us (have you ever tried Googling your own name?). Whether it’s personal info (like photos tagged on Facebook) or business-related info (like reviews or discussions on social media), in this new social media driven world it’s simply not possible to keep your laundry (dirty or otherwise) to yourself.

Now a customer can and will comment or complain in a wide variety of public forums.  And more importantly, everyone else, including any prospective customers, will be watching to see how you respond.  Those brands who admit mistakes and demonstrate a genuine desire to rectify them will win more loyal customers than those brands who don’t.

Contrary to what some might think, transparency isn’t necessarily bad for business.   In fact, it’s actually an opportunity to connect with your customers in a deeper more meaningful way, as well as a chance to set yourself apart from your competitors.  So embrace this new Age of Transparency and just be real.  It’s what your customers actually want from you.

Adapting to a whole new way of marketing can be challenging and even frustrating. But this New Marketing Paradigm also brings new opportunities to learn about and interact with your customers like never before.  So make a plan, put in the extra hours, and, most of all, participate in this New Marketing Paradigm—the consumer world wants to hear from you. And if you feel you need a little extra help getting (and keeping) those conversations going, get a hold of us.  We’d love to have a two-way conversation with YOU!

If you'd like help forging new business relationships, or just want to share some love, please Contact Us.