Are You Marketing in the Year We Actually Live In? 3 Reasons Your Struggling to Earn New Business – Even if You Don’t Know It

Author : , Date : October 14, 2014



Direct mail, cold calling, email newsletters, TV, radio, websites, and social media… all are synonymous with marketing. But do these forms of marketing really work at a level that is profitable for small business? Or, have the times really changed in such a way that there is a requirement or demand that we change our approach to how we get business in 2014 and beyond?

I’m convinced that many of us in small business have no idea what is happening in the marketplace nor do we necessarily care… until it’s too late.


It’s no longer about trends; it’s about where our prospective customers are finding what they want and how they want to find. It’s about their context (which I will get into later in the article)

If this were the 1980’s there were only four primary places you would advertise:


  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Radio
  • TV


Each one of these formats was very expensive and the less crowded for space the advertisement was the more expensive it got.

Now, the key here is that in the 1980’s – early 2,000’s most businesses were taught the importance of mass market saturation. Meaning, we talk to everyone with our story in hopes of reaching a few who will buy from us.

That would be direct mail, magazines, radio and TV. There were more but these were the big four.

Think of how expensive that was back then! Shoot, it is still expensive now.

Businesses starting in those days had to raise funds from their families, friends or investors. There was a start-up cost and marketing and advertising was a part of their budget before they ever started business.

Compare that with today where there is many times a very low if zero barrier to entry, especially if you’re starting an internet based industry.


If you were a really successful business in the 1980’s, you had a TV commercial. It was the best way to reach the masses. With only a handful of stations to watch programming, almost the entire country watched TV and you could tailor your marketing messages based on the type of programming:


  • Kids programming
  • Live sports
  • News (do you remember when there were no 24/7 news channels?)
  • Daytime TV (predominantly women who watched soaps)
  • Primetime programming


By the 1990’s and early 2000’s marketing expanded into billboards or many companies like the airlines created partnerships. If you fly a lot you might remember hearing about “The one world alliance?”

They were nothing more than strategic partners. It was made of airlines like American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay, Finnair, Japan Airlines… etc.

If you’ve read my blog much or watched my videos, you will hear me often talk about aligning yourself with partners who server the same audience you serve, but in a different way.

That’s exactly what the airlines did in 1970’s and 1980’s. It was a very effective means of helping partner companies make money from one another while also protecting their territories.


Marketing Was Profitable Until 2008


The point is that marketing was very limited and it was expensive, but it was also very profitable if done right. You had no choice when watching TV but to watch to the commercials. Try changing channels and you get more commercials, lol… I still think the TV networks were colluding on the times commercials aired.

In the newspaper industry, advertising soared from around 1985 – 2005. It was lucrative, easy money for the industry. But for the advertiser things got tougher and tougher into the 2000’s.

By 2005, things were beginning to change and these changes are so powerful that they are changing entire industries.


Because of the prevalence of the internet and how consumers both consume information and entertainment as well as how they buy products and services.

These changes are so foundational and happened so fast that we have lost the capacity as business owners to keep up with all of the changes. Let me restate that, we’ve refused to keep up because we are working so hard to survive doing the wrong things that we don’t have time to examine what we are doing and don’t want to add one more thing to our plates, even if that means improving our situations.

However, it’s not just small businesses that are struggling. It’s also the big marketing companies that are struggling to keep up with changes and consumer demand.


  • newspaper-advertising-revenuesMajor and local newspapers are going bankrupt and are struggling to survive both offline and online as sales continue dropping.
  • Traditional over-the-air TV stations are losing audience share every year and their profits are sliding.
  • Radio stations are getting less and less listening in to their scheduled programming.
  • Magazines are too expensive to print and distribute and readership is in decline.


Here is what is interesting… certain industries are buckling down and spending more money per lead in traditional advertising.

According to the Radio + Television Business Report; “local” advertising revenue is going up through 2018. In the article they stress;


“The primary sources of revenue for local television in 2013 were automotive dealers ($3.5 billion), wireless telecommunications ($772 million), hospitals ($652.7 million), and full-service restaurants ($558.3 million). “




What Does This Mean for My Business?


It means you’re losing market share if you’re doing the same advertising and marketing methods that were done in 1995, 2005, 2010 and even in 2013 and you’re in trouble. Notice the industries not buying traditional media? It’s the overwhelming majority of them.

Think about it, if you’re advertising on TV how many commercials do you personally watch? Probably not many. In fact, you’re probably more like me. You record it via your DVR and watch it later. Are you going to watch the commercials?

How many are listening to radio? Not many… in fact how many of you have your songs on your wireless device or your favorite music app and you listen to what you what, when you want it, wherever you want?

How many are consuming news online versus a physical newspaper? How easy are your online banners and ads to see and how many are really clicking them? Worse yet, how ticked off do you get at the obnoxious pop-up or drop down ads when you’re reading something?


The Real Issues are Time and Attention


If you’re trying to market your company you realize quickly if you’re paying attention that you may be a hypocrite.




Just think about that question for a moment. Things have really changed and time is the one commodity that we all want more of and will work to protect.

We don’t pay attention much to invasive TV commercials, radio commercials or ads selectively placed in the middle of articles on websites.

In fact, it probably harms you more than it helps you in the eyes of your prospects and readers.

Netflix is a great example. In 2005 Blockbuster had a great opportunity to buy them for only $25 million. Where is Netflix today and where is Blockbuster?

Blockbuster had all kinds of data that told them people wanted to touch the DVD’s and experience the store.

That apparently was a sad story they told themselves. What people really want is convenience at the  touch of a button and watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it without being interrupted by commercials and advertisements.

Uber is another site revolutionizing an entire industry. Taxi’s can be a real pain and really expensive in many cities. Waiting in the weather to get their attention is no fun at all if you’ve ever had to do it. In many cities it’s hard to get around without them.

Until Uber came along two years ago and made it possible to see who is available nearby to catch a ride with; and you just give the person going where you’re going a few bucks to help cover gas. It’s quick, easy, and convenient and the best part; IT SAVE TIME!


Every Industry is Going To Be Changed By the Internet


It doesn’t matter what industry or business you’re in. If you haven’t been affected by the internet yet, you will be. It will only take one person with an idea.

So this brings us back around to the real question; are you still marketing like it’s 2010?

In 2010 the online world was dominated by Google search and the web was taken by storm with the advent of Facebook and the explosion of Twitter. It was a revolutionary time of change that only now is it feeling like there is some maturation happening. I cover more on these two articles;

Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 1 – Google

Transformational Changes in Online Engagement: Part 2 – Is Facebook In Decline?


Content was king in 2010 and it was the rise of business blogging for many


Recently, I saw video where Gary Vaynerchuk explained that the problem succinctly; content is abundant and we have to start thinking about context.

I want to elaborate on that. You can find content anywhere and everywhere on any topic or subject on the internet. According to tens of thousands of new WordPress sites are created every day. There hundreds of millions or billions of blogs in existence. How many are used are another story… but you can find what you’re looking for.

You can find content on articles, blogs, video, podcasts, ezines, email… should I go on?

The former CEO and Chairman of Google was once quoted as saying that we create in 48 hours more content than in all of human history up to 2003.

Content is no longer what people are consuming and buying.

Now it’s context!

In other words, it’s not the content but how the context in which they are consuming the content.


It’s up to you to create your story because that’s the context in which people are now buying. This is why it’s so important for you to know and understand:


  • What business you’re “really” in
  • What problems you “really” solve
  • Who you “specifically” solve them for
  • How your products and services are part of the solution


This is how you tell your story. Gone are the days of business owners thinking like business owners. You can no longer communicate what you need from your point of view. Consumers no longer care if you need them or not because it’s not about you, it’s about them.

You must learn to think like your prospects and customers and communicate to their point of view.


What is the Context for Your Prospects and Customers?


We’ve mentioned one already; time!

How can you save your prospects and customers time or give them time back to enjoy their lives, hobbies, families, and other interests. In the course of a day, how much time is wasted on:


  • Waiting on the printer?
  • Waiting on transportation?
  • Waiting on websites to load?
  • Seeing trivial posts on social media?
  • Reading through blogs that don’t really say anything or help me in any real way?
  • Being misled to open links that have great headlines that when opened are only sales pages?
  • Watching TV commercials?
  • Listening to radio commercials?
  • Sitting in rush hour traffic?


I bet I could on? Maybe you have a few that you have thought of? If so, please share in the comments section below? I would love to read your ideas.


Another context might be money. For one person it’s saving money and getting a deal but for another it’s not about money it’s about convenience, quality or luxury; and they are willing to pay for it.

Finally, a last context is relationships. One of my clients was just sharing with me this morning that he is involved in a business community where business owners hang out weekly and talk. He doesn’t have much of a portfolio to show anyone but he is getting work and referrals from this group. He was kind of surprised because of the lack of portfolio as a start-up.

I explained to him that there are two types of people; 1) the person who doesn’t know you who is buying based on competency then relationship; 2) the person who’s gotten to know you and buys on relationship and then appreciates your competency afterwards.

Context is the key to everything and if you’re stuck in your business then the only real context you have is you!

You must understand the three levels of context I explained above and why people consume your content and then buy from you:


  • Time
  • Money
  • Relationship


I am willing to bet that the majority of business owners have never thought about this on the surface let alone deeply. And you’re left wondering why your website isn’t really converting, why you don’t get more engagement on your blog comments and why people don’t talk with you on social media?

If you’re going to start marketing in the world we live in today, you have to start thinking about your blog, email, video and social media content in terms of context and quality.

Innovation is coming to your industry if it hasn’t already. Your business is at serious risk if you’re not paying attention to the internet and you’re not engaged on it. If you underestimate it you will end up like Blockbuster and the Taxi companies.

So what do you think? Is it time to wrestle with this?


If you’re ready to learn  more, visit the Begin Here page of my website and learn more!


If you have an idea, thought or comment I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below and let’s learn from one another. 

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Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
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58 thoughts on “Are You Marketing in the Year We Actually Live In? 3 Reasons Your Struggling to Earn New Business – Even if You Don’t Know It

  1. Powerful message and you have definitely set my mind to spinning. Fortunately this is the perfect timing for me because I’m about to launch a new product line so I will take a closer look at my plan. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi Marquita,

      Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad I could encourage you to see online marketing from a different perspective.

      I hope you have an awesome finish to your week!

      ~ Don

  2. Don,
    Thank you so much for the insight. Marketing has been a challenge for us with our home care agency. We tried, and using their adwords as well. It was a total bust. Not a single client. Figured it was the gold standard. Guess not.

    I think that your point about it being context that is so important. We are trying to get into our clients’ heads, and be there to catch them when they need help. That can be hard to do- still trying to do it better, and more effectively.

    This requires thinking about for sure.

    1. Hi Haley,

      I so appreciate your transparency in your comment. It really says a lot about you and your desire to build your business.

      YP was always a bit of an unkown. It was really just a way for them to stay relevant since they knew the phone book was dying. Unfortunately, they just couldn’t pull it off. They had a brand and everyone knows the brand. When someone looks online they are just not going to use yp as a search engine. They are conditioned to go to Google, Yahoo! or Bing.

      Context is CRITICAL. In fact, I have written a new article expanding on it titles “The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context Age”. I hope you’ll check it.

      I’m sorry I couldn’t reply sooner to your comment. I was out of town this last week for both family and business and just couldn’t break away. I almost always reply the same day or at least the next day.

      I hope you have an awesome upcoming weekend!

      ~ Don

  3. The local newspaper here was bought out by the more successful one in a neighboring county. And yes, it costs more now. They both had online editions prior to that, as do most magazines, if not all of them. I keep waiting for the slow death of traditional print media.

    As for context, I mentioned to someone just yesterday how my marketing techniques for different aspects of my former business attracted one gender or the other almost exclusively. I didn’t know about context then.

    Anyway, I was informed today and yesterday of two niches I didn’t know I represented. Once again, it was contextual. I had no idea I was using that. Now all I have to do is be more deliberate. Quoting you, I either sell because someone wants my product or because someone likes me. Well said!

    1. Hi Deidre,

      It’s interesting, I’m not sure that print media will ever completely die. But, I do think the marketing aspects of it are not very applicable. That can change of course from industry to industry.

      That’s so cool that you discovered two new niches. That’s powerful!!!

      I just wrote an interesting article today titled “The Decline of Content Blogging in a Context Age”. You might want to check it out as well as I expand on the topic.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I do hope you have an awesome weekend. My apologies it took me so long getting back to your comment. I was out of town the last week for both family and business so it was a little hectic. I almost always reply the same day or at least the next.

      ~ Don

  4. I’ve done virtually no traditional marketing using social media to generate book buzz. I am about to market another book and it will be mainly through social media. Some of this is paid but even the paid rely heavily on social media.

    1. Hi Pat,

      That’s awesome. There are lots of ways to promote a book and online ought to obviously be one of them…

      Paid vs unpaid… you’re still paying in one way or another it’s just deciding how you want to pay in terms of cash vs time.

      Thank you for sharing and I hope you have a great week!

      ~ Don

  5. This is very informative post and can help many to identify the problems that any business is facing due to poor or old marketing strategy or media.
    When I was reading this post and thinking about my rural areas of Kashmir where there is no concept of even electricity , I was thinking where they are standing now and what difference it makes for them and soon I reached this line,” It doesn’t matter what industry or business you’re in. If you haven’t been affected by the internet yet, you will be. ”
    I believe this is true the world is changing , needs , demands and marketing strategies are changing there are many but challenging ways and mediums to help grow your business, if you are using them rightly , as you said.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Andleeb,

      Thank you for bringing up the reality that the world is changing. That’s why it’s imperative we think about how we ought to be changing with it constructively, positively, and strategically.

      I hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  6. Good post, Don. I often wonder how much of the perceived decline in legacy advertising is actually a decline and how much is the fact that we now have better ways to measure effectiveness so we are discovering that things we thought worked really never did. For example we used to be satisfied with placing an ad in a local daily paper and knowing it was visible (supposedly) to the full circulation number of that newspaper. But when we migrate that display add to a Web page and can measure clicks we start to find the display ad is ignored by the largest proportion of that circulation number.

    1. Hi Ken,

      That is definitely part of the equation, but it’s not the complete picture. I think we also have ways to measure where the money is coming from. If I can see that more money is coming from one marketing method over another and the other is costing me money because it’s self evident (meaning I know how much money is coming in from one method because I track vs the other I cannot), then why would I keep doing what isn’t bringing in results?

      In the offline world, I have to take someone’s word, mainly those I’m giving the money to, whereas in the online world I have cold, hard, real numbers. I realize those numbers can be manipulated as well so I have to really know the metrics and understand them.

      Just a thought.

      I hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  7. It is very interesting how people my age are still in transition when it comes to technology and marketing. We know it but we are not in tune like those growing up in the age of instant everything, phones you can carry, and maps that speak to you. I know with certainty that a direct mailer is not going to work as an advertising strategy yet it is still the first place my mind goes when I think of marketing. Luckily I don’t hang around in that space long but it is telling where my mind goes intuitively. I like the idea of context however surely content is still the foundation.

    1. Hi Tim,

      Isn’t amazing how our minds were trained as youth and how we still gravitate back even in the reality of change?

      I agree that content is the foundation, but without context there is nothing over the foundation… hence no reason for people to identify with us or make decisions.

      I hope you’re having a great week!

      ~ Don

  8. Hey Don,

    What are your thoughts on direct mail? I know that it’s one of those old sorts of adverting methods but do you feel as though a particular method of advertising is better depending on what you’re selling?

    For instance, one of the things I publish through my publishing company is a newsletter containing various success stories and tips. I publish it offline right now and I completely understand what you’ve said in this post. And I agree with this quote,


    When it comes to what the newsletter is about, if I were the customer being marketed to, I’d prefer it to be offline as well. But is this something I should survey? I’m going off what previous individuals has done in the past and has had work for them successfully.

    What are your thoughts? If you think it’ll help understand where I’m coming from better, I could send you a sample of what one of the newsletters so you can get a better understanding why I’m asking this question.

    – Andrew

    1. Hi Andrew,

      Great question. My thoughts are it depends on your industry and target audience. There is definitely a place for direct mail. It can be especially good right now since virtually no one is doing it anymore so it might be a really good idea for some businesses.

      The key is to know your audience and to understand your financial metrics. If something makes you money at a reasonable rate why would you walk away from that and do something where you don’t know what the result will be?

      I always tell my clients that if possible the absolute best thing you can do is compliment your online and offline worlds. There are a lot of people out there who still like to touch things and there are others who prefer to just see them when it’s convenient for them.

      I hope that makes sense? It’s really hard to go deeper without studying the company, their business model and their audience.

      I hope you have an awesome week Andrew. I’m excited to see you here as always!

      ~ Don

  9. The changes in the last several years has effected the way corporations advertise. Direct mailings are things of the past. We are seeing an increase in promotional products business as companies want to hand out itmes that their customers will remember their brand. You are more likely to keep a stress ball on your desk, as we all have alot of stress in our lives, then a paper mailing. So with that said I have to get the word out that I sell these items. The best way is through social media, word of mouth and connecting with your past customers

    1. Hi Arleen,

      It’s kinda funny because just before I read your comment Andrew Warner asked me above about direct mail.

      I don’t personally think it’s dead, IF you know your audience wants it. Since no one is doing it right now I’ve come to the conclusion for some companies it might work really well for a while. It all comes down to strategy and measurable goals, right?

      I love promotional products but I honestly haven’t heard any stats that talk about the effectiveness of them as a marketing tool that can lead to a sale. Do you have any stats? I would love to know because intuitively I think it’s such a great idea and way to connect with an audience!

      I always appreciate your comment and look forward to seeing you on my site.

      I hope you have an awesome week Arleen!

      ~ Don

  10. Some most valuable take aways here Don. I have a question.

    I was thinking, “Does this always apply?” I”m getting ready to re-order Highlights and HIgh Five for my two granddaughters. The only way I found them a few years ago is through a direct mail piece. They have an online website, and the send email reminders that it’s time to order.

    It occurs to me, the way they found me was the old marketing method. I don’t think much NOW if they invest in online marketing because … it’s fairly certain when their reorder reminder comes in the mail, I’m going to reup for my granddaughters who both love to read and play the games in these “magazines” for kind.

    So, is this sometimes situational for a company?

    1. Hi Patricia,

      Yes, I do think it always applies IF a company is ignoring their online marketplace and refusing to connect with people there.

      Now, I also believe it’s foolish to ignore the means that got you someplace if it still works and the ROI is acceptable. Highlights would be one of those examples because a lot of their exposure comes through the elementary schools.

      Who would honestly even think to go and search for them online? Probably very few people.

      So they initially connect with their audience via a print format and while they have a website you can browse and order from, for them it is almost always going to start offline. I will say this though, I don’t believe they are the norm anymore.

      This is where I think being open minded and understanding our market is so important. From one industry to another there can be real differences in how you reach people with your product or service and it’s up to you to figure out what works and what doesn’t on a consistent basis.

      Great comment Patricia!!! I so appreciate the question. What you do think?

      ~ Don

  11. There’s no doubt that marketing has changed. When I had my first business in the 80s, I had to think long and hard about which of the expensive options would produce the best ROI. Now, I can actually try the different ones to determine which to keep. The downside is that my competition also has access to many free or inexpensive methods, making the marketing scene very crowded. Focusing on the client or customer weeds many others out.

    1. Hi Beth,

      I remember those days well. I just wrote a bit about the 80’s and 90’s today and the differences in old school marketing from today’s marketing.

      The way I think about it today is there are two options you’re going to pay if you want to dominate or be successful in marketing.

      Option 1 is with cash. You can pay for SEO, websites, social media marketing, video, etc.

      Option 2 is with time. You can do it yourself if you have the skills but time = money and so one must carefully weigh the balance between paying with cash or time.

      If done right, your competition may not be an issue because of either their mindset or lack of cash or skills.

      But like you said, it always comes down to focusing on the client and allowing them to weed out the competition over time.

      Great comment Beth. I hope you have an awesome week!!!

      ~ Don

  12. Indeed you have hit the nail squarely n the head…context! The changes we are seeing now, in terms of internet presence are still evolving and that means we have to keep evolving too. As you wisely state, quality can’t suffer but you need to devote time to maximizing and making new relationships in order to realize successful marketing. Spot on!

    1. Hi Jacqueline,

      It really is evolving, or as I like to say it’s maturing. The internet continues to grow up and yet many are not growing up with it.

      I so appreciate your kind words Jacqueline and I hope you have an awesome week ahead!
      ~ Don

  13. Awesome post Don!

    I hadn’t heard about Blockbuster’s big misread! I just wonder how many of the executives of that company are now gainfully employed elsewhere?

    The visionaries that they were!LOL!

    And man you definitely called it about the Internet forcing all of us to do some much needed re-positioning!

    Or else risk becoming toast! Because there is absolutely new technology that has spawned and will continue to spawn so much innovation the way the Internet has!

    Reading (more like!) studying this post is like eating out at an all you can eat restaurant! There is so much to take in, your head literally explodes!LOL!

    But in a really creative way! Thanks! I’m mentally stuffed!LOl!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Many of them started their own businesses believe it or not.It would make sense with all of the lessons they learned, lol…

      It really is going to be an interesting five years in front of us. I really don’t think we can get our heads around what is going to happen in the future, but that’s okay that just makes it that much more exciting.

      Well, I hope you put a lot of weight on Mark!!! LOL…

      Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope you have an awesome upcoming weekend!

      ~ Don

  14. Hi Don,

    Its always recommended to walk with time because if you don’t do it then time will beat you and you will remain at the back side.
    Every year strategies for marketing change which should be adopted by marketers.
    Though i don’t have much experience but still I have seen by things changing during this time period of blogging.
    Running any inline business is not an easy task. You need to know about latest techniques and online trends which are new and ole one too.
    Sometime old tricks get worked.

    Thanks for writing this article.


    1. Hi Ravi,

      Change… its’ the one thing we can count on isn’t it? For better or worse, there is a lot of change coming and for those of us who are ready we will be much better off for it.

      I so appreciate your comment Ravi. I hope you have an awesome upcoming weekend!!!

      ~ Don

  15. Hi Don, this article speaks to me on so many levels! Where do I start? I’ll start with I market how I’d like to be marketed to. I expect on a subconscious level other marketers to “get” that about me. They don’t. They still think Don Draper knows everything about me, and that his gender typical sexism will work… it doesn’t. Sorry Don, you’re a pretty boy, but your marketing and advertising doesn’t connect to me.

    What business you’re “really” in – hoo yeah! Let’s look into this a bit. Companies still think they’re in the business of making money. Ha! And If I had a £1 for every time someone was “doing what they love” and expecting to be paid for it… well… it would be my assistant typing this instead of me. Businesses quickly lose site of what business they’re in, if they ever knew at all.

    What problems you “really” solve. Yes, as a business the solution you sell isn’t just what it does, and now we wander back into Mr Draper’s territory, we want the feelings, the association, the pleasure, the peace of mind and it doesn’t matter if it comes in the form of a lipstick or an insurance policy. And if it comes with wifi, so much the better.

    Thanks for the cracking read Don, loved it 🙂

    1. Hi Sarah,

      That’s awesome!!!! I love that I was able to make a connection through the article. That’s one thing that always makes me feel GREAT!

      I really like your first full sentence: “…I market how I’d like to be marketed to.”

      That’s a really big deal!!! Most business owners and marketers have their own agendas and either that don’t care or they act like they don’t care what you want or think. They just want you to buy.

      I’ve never heard of Don Draper. Is he someone I should know about?

      It’s so funny, because when I ask a client or a prospect “what business are you “really” in?” They miss it every single time. They default to what they do or make money as you said.

      It seems so easy on the surface, but we have to learn to start thinking like our prospects and customers and learn how they see us. Crafting a message that relates to them always starts with them, not with us.

      I love it… “if it comes with wifi, so much better.” LOL… You have me on the floor and I can hardly think your humor is so contagious!!!!!

      I appreciate you AWESOME comment and thanks for the injecting your personality and a little humor into it as well. I really needed that!

      ~ Don

  16. Hi Don,
    You have taken be back to the days where I was selling my books via snail mail lists lol. It did work back in the day and I made enough money to open my first “shop” whereby I was selling products and giving services. And that lead to another marketing technique.

    But here we are and marketing has changed. I’m loving it! We must think about Context! It all ties in with our blog, social media, videos and making relationships. But here’s the thing: Some marketers only depend on the small amount of relationships made to sell their “stuff.” That’s a low percentage of people that will opt in.

    To me, I like to do the free relationship marketing plus paid marketing. When I roll out with paid marketing, I can do the research of who is “attracted” to me and my products. Get the stats down to just about everything from who they follow, their financial status, to how they behave online. Kinda fun being a “peeping Tom” lol. So I market to that specific audience. Actually I have several. Yes..I like to pay to play and find that the ROI saves me time.

    Now I can re-target them with other tricks up my sleeve lol. Just like anyone who has purchased something on Amazon, you will constantly see that kind of product following you on the social media platforms.

    But I digress….We, as marketers have to hang out with other marketers plus always keeping our eye on new trends because marketing Now is a fun place to be if you know your stuff.

    So my friend, my answer is yes, I do market in the year I live in! I never thought I would be a “marketer” but the journey I have been on is exciting and I just love tweaking! 🙂

    Thanks Don and have a great week ahead.


    blog, email, video and social media content in terms of context and
    quality. – See more at:
    blog, email, video and social media content in terms of context and
    quality. – See more at:

    1. Hi Donna,

      I LOVE your comment!!!!! Paying to play can be absolutely brilliant and it’s a great way to meet a new audience.

      I was just telling one of my coaching clients the other day that there are two ways you have to think about your marketing:

      1. People who don’t know you – how will you find them at a reasonable cost and high likely hood they will buy you. These people buy on competency and relationship comes AFTER you’ve done a great job for them.

      2. People you have a relationship with – these folks already believe you’re competent and want to buy you because they love and believe in you.

      Your comment is so relevant in this context because you only have the capacity to know and have a relationship with so many people at one time.

      While mass marketing is failing, highly targeted, pay to play marketing as you’ve mentioned works extremely well and is a very wise investment.

      Thank you Donna for such a wonderful comment. I’m glad you brought up the issues you did.

      I hope you’re having a great week!

      ~ Don

  17. Hi Don,

    Great value in this post!!

    The saying goes if we keep doing the same things, we will get the same results but in this case if we keep doing what was working a while ago, we will not get results today as what was working is not working anymore. Things have changed dramatically and we need to adapt to those changes.

    I agree it is not only about content but about what makes a great context for our audience using the technology in the world we live in today and adapt to the changes to become relevant.

    Thanks Don for a thought-provoking post!! Have a great rest of the week.

    Be Blessed,


    1. Hi Neamat,

      Exactly right… it’s insane isn’t it? LOL… Doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result is exactly what most business owners are doing these days.

      Sometimes it is out convenience, other times it’s out of ignorance. In either case it’s going to get them in trouble one of the days.

      I appreciate your comment Neamat and I’ll be over to your site shortly. I’ve been meaning to stop by and my goodness has it been wonderfully busy.

      Have a great week!

      ~ Don

  18. Hey Don,

    It’s obvious that the internet has changed the way online businesses flow. It’s indeed something that needs to be followed through because a wrong approach to it will always lead to failure.

    I was reading all along and I saw an article written out a personal touch. There will always be room for marketing because it forms the basics of online business. Now with this shift in marketing, and with many companies bring on their brands online it’s now time to start paying more attention to what context or approach we employ when advertising products and services to potential customers.

    This is indeed a great read Don!


    1. Hi Jackson,

      It’s funny, it’s obvious if you’re paying attention. The problem is few business owners are closely following. I can’t tell you how many business owners are just now starting to pay attention to social media. Where were they three and four years ago?

      As this transition continues to occur in marketing it opens up opportunities for new businesses at the expense of those businesses who won’t take the time to learn. I really believe that.

      And for those businesses that are online, they better wake up and realize that just pumping content out is not the answer. Context is what gets people’s attention, not content.

      Thanks for the kind words Jackson.

      I hope you have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  19. I feel like I went through a history lesson there LOL thanks Don. That will save me time to research those in the future 😀

    Here in the Philippines, print is still the big thing beside TV and Radio. Digital is starting to pop up but it’s nowhere near the popularity of those mediums.

    In a couple years maybe, when people stop relying on sms spam, grammatically wrong copy on print and crappy tv/radio ads …maybe then, they will recognize why what we are doing is more important, gets more conversions, improves a customer’s lifetime value and is actually trackable.

    Sorry for blabbering lol.

    I really appreciate the post Don. Sharing this out

    1. Hi Dennis,

      It can sure be hard to understand where we are going without knowing where we’ve been. I love history and study it a lot and I’ve learned two things:

      1. Nothing is really new
      2. History has a way of coming back around

      In the Philippines, I would think if you can position yourself as an expert online right now you are prime for huge things when the time comes that many do move online.

      Love your blabber… keep it coming. Lots of ideas are in there.

      I hope you’re having a great week thus far Dennis.

      ~ Don

  20. Sure Don, you are right with this tip

    “If you’re going to start marketing in the world we live in today, you have to start thinking about your blog, email, video and social media content in terms of context and quality.”

    This tells small businesses that things have truly changed when it comes to the context with which we advertise products/services to potential customers.

    Indeed, no matter the Industry we are in, the Internet has affected the way things work. So, it is important to ride with the tide and forget “traditional” advertising.

    That is, if we are to do away with struggling! 😀

    comment shared in where post was found.

    1. Hi Sunday,

      I have learned as I’ve studied blogs, social media pages and comments what makes for great context.

      Content by itself really means nothing without context does it?

      That’s why I keep coming back to know what business you’re “really” in, know what problems you “really” solve, who you specifically solve them for and then understand the context for which you can solve those problems via your products and services.

      For too long we’ve just been pumping out content without purpose and meaning. Those times are changing or we are going to become irrelevant.

      Thanks so much for your comment Sunday!

      ~ Don

  21. Excellent article, Don!

    I enjoyed reading about the history of marketing. Definitely need to change our approach to get business with ways that work currently and get the desired result.

    The Internet has definitely changed everything. More and more companies are seeking to have an online presence and optimize this presence to be a larger percentage of their sales each year.

    I do pay attention to ads but mostly to observe copywriting from the perspective of a marketer, not a consumer. lol

    Yep, context and quality are the things to consider for sure, Don, I couldn’t agree more!

    Sharing with my friends…
    – Carol

    1. Hi Carol,

      Thank you! It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the next few years as more industries continue to struggle because of their unwillingness to change what they are doing because it’s the way they’ve always done it. That’s a losing proposition for sure!

      The other side of that coin is that as more companies do come online the more the competition heats up and the strong rise to the top and weak disappear. That’s how the market is supposed to work. Those of us who have been on the scene for a few years will have a major advantage to those who don’t understand what to do.

      But, that’s good for me, and you as well!!!!

      I appreciate your comment Carol. Thank you.

      I hope you’re having a great week!

      ~ Don

  22. Hey Don,

    You know I had to think about this subject last year. I was getting comments and engagement but I wanted more. But then again I was spending so much time blogging every other day that the relationships I was building was growing that much and I just knew people from their blogs.

    So I made a change of thinking at the end of last year. I started blogging once a week, focused more on what would be valuable to my readers, and started using twitter on my phone to engage with other bloggers more, as well as on facebook. And I do have to say it was a change for the better.

    So for me it was time and relationships. I put in less time in blogging, but more time to promote and comment. At the same time I was building relationships with others, thanking them for sharing my blog and seeing what they were up into in their everyday lives. It feels like I’m filling all of the pieces of the puzzles.

    Thanks for the share Done and I hope you’re having a great week!

    1. Hi Sherman,

      I know a number of people that have switched in recent months to a similar strategy and it’s working really well for them as well.

      I agree that it’s all about relationships and relationship building. The fact that your working your rear end off and promoting and marketing your blog says a lot about how much you believe in what you have to say.

      I can affirm that your blog is AWESOME!!!! I am at a point now where I check out what you have to say every week.

      I love what you’re doing Sherman and I so appreciate your comment and sharing with us how you’re becoming another huge success story!

      Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~ Don

  23. Hi Don,

    Another great piece. Well, I’m glad you said it, I’ve always wondered, especially in the maybe past 4 or 5 years how in the world companies paying hundred of thousands of dollars in commercials think that we’re actually watch them! And the same goes for the commercials on YouTube by the way.

    But if you’d tell that to those guys they’d say, because it works. That I have to say, has always puzzled me. Now how long would they be willing to waste their money if it didn’t though? I’m still very puzzled with the whole thing.

    But you are right, things are changing and marketing is like everything else, and we must change with it to be successful. I would not even spend a penny advertising on a newspaper, and by the way, I speak to a lot of people who are not really watching TV anymore either. That’s changing too. People watch the computer more now, or even that ridiculously small phone screen:)

    Thanks to make such a great point!

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      One thing is clear, the companies that are doing commercials are still making money and profits from the ads or they wouldn’t do them.

      The problem is they are all large companies with huge marketing budgets. It’s interesting, According to an LA Times article I just looked up the number of commercials per hour have gone up. Here is what it says:

      “In 2009, the broadcast networks averaged 13 minutes and 25 seconds of commercial time per hour. In 2013, that figure grew to 14 minutes and 15 seconds.”

      It’s even more for cable tv programming.

      This is happening because they’ve had to lower their prices and therefore increase the frequency of ads.

      Still, 90% of all businesses or more cannot afford this kind of saturation marketing. I’m sure there is a way to target as I mentioned in the article.

      Great point about watching on computers and tablets. It is happening but people for the majority still like their big screens. TV Sales show it in the proof of strong sales.

      I really appreciate your comment Sylviane and I hope you’re having an awesome week!

      ~ Don

      1. Nope.

        This is not the first time my Chrome browser has made social buttons disappear.
        What kind of buttons do you have?
        I know the DiggDigg ones hardly ever are visible to me, and Flare never seems to work, either.

        1. Any chance you have a filter on? I use Chrome and no problems. People share the articles every day and no problem. As a web developer, it sounds like it might either be a setting in your browser or a firewall setting? I’m using “share this” widget. I will do some trouble shooting on my end to see if I can uncover anything.

          Thank you for letting me know.

          ~ Don

  24. Hi Don

    Every industry is going to be changed by the internet. If any will adamant to unchange, time will wipe it out and will be a ramnant of the offline era.

    I once read the first ever public relation drive was launched in late 18th century in New York when a few hundred women took out a rally while smoking cigarettes and proclaiming that they also have the right to smoke as their male counterpart. The rally was titled as Torch of Liberty.

    But now awareness has risen to a level it will be quite disgusting if a group stages a demo to keep smoking by declaring it as its fundamental right.

    So in this era of digital technology paper still has its own importance but it has lost its marketing appeal as internet publications now hold. So this is the miracle of online publication which entirely has changed the marketing mindset of the whole business world.

    Thanks a lot for this wonderful post with a lot of great points.

    1. Hi Mi,

      Every single industry, it’s just a matter of time. I agree with you, paper is important and it has its place. But not as much when it comes to marketing.

      That’s the danger for business owners. Too many do not realize they are in media and marketing first, and business second. It’s the reality of the new world.

      I hope you have an awesome couple of days left in your week Mi!

      ~ Don

  25. Hi Don,

    I just wanted to say that I loved this article! I’m a big believer that time is money, so I completely agree that adding value with regards to time (and wasted time) is a fantastic area to take advantage of when it comes to marketing. My commute (by bus) to university used to be 3 hours each day, and the time wasted on that commute killed me! I think that’s why it’s so important to have a mobile optimized site/blog – That’s where people are going in the lulls in their days so it’s where we can reach them without being intrusive… which then brings us to the importance of building a non-intrusive relationship with your consumer too. It’s all connected!

    Anyways, thanks for the read!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thank you so much for the encouragement! WOW! I thought traffic was bad in Washington DC, three hours each day on a bus… That’s a lot of time. I bet you got a lot of time in to study and catch up on things every day?

      But you’re right, mobile is so important now for reasons just as you listed. It is really challenging to read on a small phone. I personally find anything smaller than an iPad ought to be mobile responsive.

      I so appreciate your comment Sarah. I hope you have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

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