Over the years businesses have changed their mindset around the need for having a website and having an online presence. Now that businesses are online and are competing for customers and clients the conversation has turned from web design to attracting an audience that is ready and willing to buy.
Unfortunately, far too many businesses they are still too concerned with how the websites looks instead of are they attracting the right audience?
Progress is a really good thing. But as we mature in our online experiences are we asking ourselves the right questions?
Are some of us still stuck between an old world and the one we live in or the one we are headed to?
Ever since businesses started adding websites to their marketing mix the number one question I’m almost universally asked is “how do we get people to see the website?” as opposed to “how do I connect with those who visit my website so they have a reason to buy?”
Where did the need for massive traffic come from and what are the expectations that people have in regards to website traffic?
Today I’m going to answer these questions and take us on a brief history lesson in marketing and then I’m going to offer a few suggestions that will help you understand how you can better use the internet to gain market share, prospects and acquire new customers or clients.
Old School Mass Media Marketing
If you were around in the 1980’s and 1990’s in sales, you would see a world very different from the one that exists today.
In 1994 I had been out of the US Navy for nearly a year when I accepted a sales position with The New England Life and Investment Company. It was my first exposure to sales and it was an amazing experience.
In those days, mass marketing was the way you grew a business by bringing exposure and awareness to it. It was achieved primarily through:
- Direct Mail
These tools of mass media marketing have been around for a long time. Newspaper advertising alone has existed since the 1700’s.
If you were going to reach an audience that might buy from you, you had to reach as many people as possible, and if you were going to reach people they had to become familiar with your branding. That meant you had to spend a lot of money consistently to get them to see you over and over again.
I don’t have any hard numbers and it was challenge on a Google search, so I’ll go on memory. In the 1990’s I remember reading in Harvard Business Review that it took on average 18 touches before someone was willing to buy. By 2005, I read it was over 40 touches.
It’s no wonder that it’s still ingrained in our marketing psyche that we have to reach hundreds of thousands or millions of people over-and-over just to get a sale.
In 2013, corporations spent untold billions of dollars in mass media advertising. According to Business Insider.com the following corporations spent the following on mass media:
- Walmart = $690 million
- Macy’s = $762 million
- T-Mobile = $773 million
- Geico = $921 million
- Verizon = $1.43 billion
Back to my personal story, lol… Once the mass marketing did its job there was only one way to connect with people and that was to call them or get them into a store. The cold or warm call was the preferred method of booking sales meetings and if you sold merchandise well you had to get them there if they were going to buy since there was no internet.
Business schools and corporations literally had it down to a science. If your goal was to earn so much money, you were going to have to make 100 calls per day, book ten meetings, and plan for one sale. If you got one sale per week you could easily make $100,000 per year. That was a lot of money in 1994.
Sounds easy, right? Hardly!
90% of the people I would call were in no way qualified. They were just bought leads that the seller had picked up at a fair or some other event via a prospecting card. Who really knows where they got the leads. I even wondered if they just went through the phone book? I could have done that, lol.
It was all about the numbers and it didn’t matter who filled out a card or where we got the lead from so long as there was a name and a phone number.
It was long, hard, grueling, negative work. The reality was you were trying to get hung up on so many times in a row before you know someone would entertain you.
The challenge Today with Mass Media
If you’re a business owner and you’re 40 years old or older, your mind is inclined to mass marketing. It’s what you’ve known most of your life and it’s still how many corporations attempt to reach you.
Think about it, it wasn’t so long ago the internet didn’t really exist. Just ten years ago we didn’t have smartphones, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, content marketing, inbound marketing, search engine optimization, easy ways to create video, etc.
So, you naturally think because it’s how you’re conditioned, mass marketing is still the way to go.
Okay, maybe not completely. You’ve been to enough chamber lunches or workshops and heard about Google, social media and email, and that you may need a blog.
But that doesn’t mean you understand it. So there is now a new model that has slowly replaced the mass media marketing model but it hasn’t completely abandoned it. It’s incorporated the old with the new.
Old New School Marketing
The internet hasn’t rid the rid world of mass marketing. In fact it’s made it worse in many ways.
Talk to any business owner and there is one reason why they are even interested in having a website or being on social media;
SHOW ME THE MONEY!
Isn’t that what you want? You want the money from the billions of people searching on the internet for your products or services.
In addition to traditional mass media we’ve added to our online portfolio a company website, social media and email.
What has essentially happened is we transferred one way of mass marketing for another.
- Direct mail we collect and send out as many email solicitations as possible
- TV we plaster YouTube with our homemade video commercials
- Radio we talk on podcasts
- Billboards we have banner advertisements on other websites
- Newspapers or magazines we guest blog
There really is nothing new under the sun. Just find me the cheapest, fastest, and best way to the money!
Now, there is nothing wrong with these forms of marketing. The question here is are you focusing on reaching as many people as you can hoping one is the golden nugget or are you being purposeful and intentional in finding the right target market that is ready to buy from you?
It’s tricky, I admit it. But, that’s where understanding the new school marketing comes into play.
Old School Thinking in a New School Economy
Since the crash of 2008 / 2009 the economy has changed and so has the mindset of consumers. But for small business owners conditioned by the old school mass media model not so much has really changed.
Sure, many are doing okay but they are not doing as well as they once did, and it’s becoming more expensive in either time or money to reach a mass audience.
As I said in the article “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”; innovation is coming to every industry whether they are ready for it or not and that innovation will either cause you to struggle, close your business or thrive. That choice is going to be up to you ultimately.
Mobile websites and apps have brought a whole new level of experiences to marketing, much of which is out of the businesses control.
According to a recent study (click here) offline stores have seen a decrease on average of 36% declines of in-store purchases over digital purchases from 2012 – 2013.
Just look over the last few years at how Yelp has influenced restaurants to improve or risk losing business.
Netflix and music streaming apps like Spotify and Pandora are changing the way we access entertainment and when we access it.
Amazon has forever changed the way we read books.
Yet, our behavior as business owners in the way we market our products and services is not falling in line with how we like to be marketed to.
How many of you:
- Spend your time watching the commercials on TV? (Outside of the Super Bowl of course, lol…)
- Listen to the commercials on the radio?
- Actually click on banner ads in online newspapers or websites?
- Look at one page sales websites that go down a page forever as the company / person tries to sell you
- something while really telling you nothing?
- Read ten emails a day of solicitations from people you don’t know about stuff you don’t really want?
- Spend your time on social media all excited by the ads you’re going to see today?
But why are we doing our own marketing the way we are it if that’s not even how we like to be marketed to?
It’s because we are conditioned to that “how it’s supposed to be done!”
What Did Google Teach Us?
If Google taught us anything, it’s that we can find what we are looking for when we want to find it. They started the trend of helping move marketing from mass media to targeted media.
Facebook and Twitter have fallen in line with Google.
These companies have so much data that you no longer have to reach the masses with your message for a really expensive price.
Instead, you can reach your tightly defined audience that is much more open and ready to buy from you than ever before.
- Optimize your website, landing pages and blog articles for those you want to reach.
- Create very target and specific Adwords pay-per-click campaigns on Google.
- Create highly targeted and specific posts on Facebook and Twitter.
- Connect and network with online influencers who have access to large audiences.
There is a lot you can do!
Here is another article I wrote titled “One Over the Top Idea To Help You Grow Your Business Online” that applies to any business that is either brick-and-mortar or exclusively online.
New School Marketing
Marketing is moving quickly from mass media to influence marketing that relies heavily on knowing and understanding your specific potential buyers.
Google, Facebook, Twitter and many more have digital information on us all so much that it makes it easier to know how to market to someone based on:
- The websites you’ve visited
- What you post on social media
- What you actually buy (both because you’ve said it and / or done it)
But as a small business owner we have to realize what it is people are really buying from us and why they are buying.
They could buying:
- Ideas – people want access to ideas that can either make their businesses better in a business-to-business environment or consumers want ideas that will improve their lives, relationships or experiences.
- Better Quality of Life – people don’t just want more to have more these days, they want a better quality of life. Ever notice that the best commercials on TV center around entertainment, drinking or sex? People really want to enjoy their lives more than they want just stuff.
- They have a problem that needs to be solved. People have needs and they want solutions not products or services.
Marketing today is shifting and we have to learn to think like our prospects, customers and clients. What does this do for us?
It helps us:
- Profile our prospects and customers so we know who to talk with.
- Give them a reason to buy from us.
- Give them a reason to keep coming back over-and-over again.
- Give them a reason to refer us.
- Make raving fans who become our best marketers for us.
That means we have to change the way we communicate through and use our websites, blogs, social media, email, and videos.
In the old and old new school mass media marketing models the emphasis is on the business and or product or service. It refers to features and benefits. It has to since there is no choice as mass media marketing is attempting to influence everyone.
However, in the new school marketing the emphasis is on the prospect, customer or client. We are an instrument or tool for them to use and that’s why the focus is on them and not on our businesses or products.
This has a profound impact on the way we as businesses and marketers influence our audiences and it really does get us back to remembering why we are in business.
Yes, money is important and profits ensure a stable growing environment that is great for our customers, employees, vendors and the communities we live and do business in.
But money is not the emphasis.
The money comes when we create company cultures that put people first through a clearly defined mission and purpose.
This is where small business can learn from some great corporations like Southwest Airlines, FedEx, UPS, Merck, Levi Strauss, Proctor & Gamble, Rubbermaid and Motorola. These companies all share a people first culture that has enabled them to grow into amazing companies.
I love this commercial… think of how it talks to the small business owner. I won’t say my thoughts on it now let’s save it for the comments section. I would love to know how you feel and what you thought as you watched this commercial. How did it talk to you?
Transitioning from Old School to New School Marketing
Are you stuck in the old school paradigm of marketing? In your subconscious do you tend to navigate back to mass media and the belief that you have to reach everyone, even if you don’t have the money or you aren’t ready for the large audience?
I’m not here to tell you that mass marketing is dead nor is it always a bad thing!
I am here to tell you that you have to be smart about where you market and how you market, especially if you’re a small business that doesn’t have hundreds of millions of dollars in your marketing budget.
In order for new school marketing to work you have to really be on your game.
You have to:
- Make it about the consumer and not about you or your products or services.
- Know and understand what business you’re “really” in from the perspective of the consumer.
- Know and understand exactly what problems you “really” solve from the perspective of the consumer.
- Know who the “specific” consumer is, where they hang out, and how they like to be met.
- Know how your products or services are “part” of their solution.
- Know the context of your marketing.
- Develop intentional strategies.
- Develop measurable and specific goals.
- Develop objectives and tasks to meet the goals and fulfill the strategies.
When you do it right, you have a massive competitive advantage at a cost that is much more reasonable than just pulling out the checkbook and throwing your messaging on a wall full of other messages.
That means you have to learn how to become a leader in your own company and for your prospects and customers. I don’t want to take a lot of time to go into leadership. I’ll let Yvonne Wilson do that. She has a great article titled How To Grow Yourself As a Leader Others Want to Follow.
Are you leader if no one is following? Are you purposely growing as a leader and do you have what it takes to grow your company to the next level?
New school marketing is going to challenge your leadership and it’s going to force you to think differently about your business in a way that will either be a catalyst for growth or decline.
I have one preface; sometimes the things that are holding you back have nothing to do with your marketing and it affects your leadership. It’s your mindset and your belief in yourself. In a recent article by Mandie Sanders, she shares how believing in yourself is critical to your success.
New school marketing requires that you really have a handle on your mindset and how you see yourself. I encourage you to check out her article.
Would you prefer your marketing look like this?
Or do you want your real target marketing audience to stand up and buy from you? If so, offer them clarity and a reason and they just might!
If you want to really learn how to maximize new school marketing and get ahead of your competition click here and learn more on the Begin Here page.
If you have a thought or comment, I would love to extend the conversation with you. Let’s chat below in the comments section.