Or are they misappropriating breathtaking amounts of money every year, by looking for new business the same way they have for the last two decades?
What makes them think that still works? Are they working from habit or – worse – ignorance?
Or are they banking on yours?
How do you buy things?
Do you still pull the Yellow Pages off the shelf and start dialing?
More likely, you do one of these things:
- You pull out your phone or your tablet – or possibly a laptop, depending, and pull up either Google or Google Maps. (A VERY few people press the button on their phones for Siri.) Way more often than you’d like to admit, you wind up on Amazon in the end, no matter where you looked first.
- If you spend a lot of time online, you head for your favorite social network and ask your most expert friends for recommendations.
- If you’re a CEO or the President of the United States, you ask your spouse or a paid assistant to handle the task for you.
Fact is, most people you want to sell to will pick #2.
Now consider: How do you keep up with your industry?
When’s the last time you picked up the print version of a trade journal?
I bet you do at least half of your business reading online – especially if you have a tablet …
… Where I was reading about some big-ticket marketing conference a couple days ago.
It was one of those events where people with big titles and big salaries from big companies go, to spend a few days in a lovely hotel and make up buzzwords.
One of the buzzwords was causing confusion. Nobody could agree on what it meant, partly because, the article said, of . . .
A lack of familiarity with the social web.”
I want to know who’s paying these big dollars, for big decisions, from a group of people who have ”a lack of familiarity with the social web.”
Facebook has a billion users.
Twitter has several hundred million. In my view, it’s by far the better way to reach influentials. Think sportswriters, to name one.
Google+ has a few hundred million.
People like to joke about its poor engagement levels. But if you want to reach communities of experts – particularly in tech, the arts and science, that’s where you go.
Apparently there are highly paid marketers making decisions about reaching audiences on the social web, along with other media.
And they don’t use social sites enough to understand who’s on them or how they work.
That’s like coaching a college tennis team if the only time you’ve ever played was in a clinic you took on your honeymoon 30 years ago. You kind of remember how to hit the ball, but you know nothing of where to hit it or why.
If you don’t understand the social web, you’ll waste all the time and money you spend.
You’ll miss a huge opportunity to build enormous goodwill and (if you do a few other things right ) ultimately covert the marketing function from cost center to profit generator.
Worse, the audiences you most want to reach will call you a spammer.
That’s the truth of the social web, and of our jobs growing value in business more generally:
Nobody cares about our messages.
Nobody cares about our products.
People care about four things: their families, their finances, their fun and their personal passions. Even when we sell them things for their businesses, we’d better figure out how we can help with one of those four things.
If marketers don’t understand that, they will never understand how to listen, how to serve, how to be relevant.
They will just waste one hell of a lot of money shouting at people who will work all the harder to ignore them, the louder they shout.
Or worse, they’ll ignore the web completely.
Because five pages of pretty pictures and a contact form do not a website make.
Especially when it was last updated three years ago.
That’s more money wasted.
That means they’re still doing things the old way, spending money on print ads and in the Yellow Pages to build awareness among a smaller and smaller number of readers who don’t have the time or headspace to care.
Thinking that awareness will move the needle. That brand is a cause of sales, not an effect. And that marketers, not customers, are still in charge.
Unless, of course, they know you have something they really want …