Marketing has gone through many changes, especially in the last decade. Our marketing focus has shifted from traditional print to online, from direct mail to social media, e-newsletters and blogging. Not to mention the speedy adoption of mobile devices and consumer’s addiction to real-time communication.
To help sketch out the reinvention of marketing and put it in a larger context, I’ve compiled three epic marketing shifts business owners must know about and that has changed the way you market forever.
Advertising and marketing are no longer the same thing
For 100 years marketing meant one thing and we could all agree what is was: “advertising.” That meant a plethora of TV commercials, billboards, outdoor media, glossy magazine ads and jingle radio ads. It was a method used by traditional mass marketers, that gave big companies the opportunity to make average products for average people.
Let me say here, that marketing and advertising are not the same thing. They used to be, but they’re not the same thing anymore. Everything is marketing – the name of your business, products and services, how you comport yourself, determining whether you will be selling a product or service, how you run your business, the method of manufacture or servicing, how you bid on projects, the colors, size, and shape or your product, how you perform for clients and customers, the packaging, how you build relationships, the location of your business, the advertising, the PR, etc. You’re either judged on these things, or you’re being ignored.
All media is now optional
Business owners must fully understand, that in a noisy world “attention” is worth quite a bit, and ought to be cherished. That all media is now optional – no one is going to look at your content, Like your status update, retweet your tweet, or open your email unless they want to.
Every interaction comes with a cost. No, not in dollars, but in something worth even more: the attention of the person you’re interacting with.
The network effect is the most powerful
The network effect answers one key question: Does it work better if my friends use it too?
The classic example is the telephone. The more people who own telephones, the more valuable the telephone is to each owner. This creates a positive externality because a user may purchase a telephone without intending to create value for other users, but does so in any case. Online social networks work in the same way, with sites like Twitter and Facebook becoming more attractive as more users join.
Business owners need to fully understand the power of the network effect and how they can (with some creativity, enthusiasm, and energy) employ tools or processes that makes their product or service more valuable the more people use it.