You know what is so much better than talking about research methods for
attracting new customers or listening to languorous discussions on retention and
conversion of said customers? Making friends. You convince someone to buy your
product, then congratulations, you have sold a unit. But, if you make friends by
interacting with someone in your target demographic which causes them to
purchase your product, you my friend, have just taken a step in building a
A following full of brand-loyal friends makes for easy marketing. Guess what else?
It’s fun too.
Wait a minute. Let’s take the advice of ‘lil Jon and “back it up.” How do we know
that making friends will work as a marketing model? Doesn’t this seem a bit
loosey-goosey? Our fine marketing friends at Forrester Research say no way.
Here are the facts. 79% of consumers now use a smartphone to help them make a
decision while shopping. Studies done by Forrester have shown that these
consumers go online and do their own research about a product, checking for
reviews, looking at ratings and hunting down information where they can learn
about other consumers like them are using the product.
This information tells us two things. First, a consumer craves more information
and knowledge, and the second, they are willing to interact or at the very least
make an active choice in learning more about a potential product.
Before you say, “Well, duh..we already know this,” consider this. For all that
hunting and gathering of information on the web (Americans spend as much time
online as they do watching television) only 15% of the marketing budget is
allocated to online resources. The market is there, but the marketing is not. Right
now, in 2011, if your company is not marketing with new media online, then you
might be left in the dust.
The New Media Marketing Model
As early as 10 or 15 years ago, marketers were still following the classic funnel
model for marketing campaigns. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the traditional inverted triangle where a potential consumer first becomes aware of a product. They move through a logical sequence of becoming aware of the product, considering it, choosing a preference, taking action and then swearing the oath of brand loyalty forever.
This way of thinking is so old, you might as well throw the funnel away. The new
model looks something like a mind map. The potential customer is first exposed
to the new product and then the fun begins. Rather than moving on a linear
progression that eventually leads towards a specific action, a potential client
today moves in multiple directions before making a commitment by purchasing a
product. Initially, when a customer now is introduced to a product, they move back and
forth, up and down and all around to learn more about the product.
Because of social media, they want to know about who is using the product they are
interested in and they are interested in learning about how it has worked for people like them.
Old Media Marketing = conveyor belt thinking of moving potential customers to paying
New Media Marketing = Potential customers learn, interact and ask questions before
making a knowledgeable decision.
Learn How They Learn
So what are new media customers looking for when they want to learn about a
potential product? Sandy Canfield, a graphic designer weighed in when I asked
her about how she went about looking and deciding on a new e-reader.
AI: “What type of e-reader are you looking to buy and why?”
SC: “I want a Kindle, because I think it’s the best e-reader out there.”
AI: “How do you know it’s the best e-reader?”
SC: “Well, I think it’s the best because a colleague of mine and my best friend has one. Also, I went online to Amazon.com and read nearly all the reviews. There are a couple of videos on the site that gives the specs about the Kindle, which is helpful to me because I know exactly what I am getting for my money. I decided to go with the Kindle because I have used Amazon in the past and their customer service was extremely helpful.”
This potential customer went from a possible customer to a brand follower. She learned about the e-reader, asked her friends and read reviews and examined specs. What won her over was the fact that Amazon had a good track record for excellent customer service. Amazon provided a quality product and then let the buyers decide if it was good or bad. The new marketing model is about engaging the potential customer and then allowing them ample opportunities to learn more about a company through multiple platforms.
Let it Out of the Box
Seth Godin, marketing mogul, best-selling author and ex-VP for Yahoo! says to “Poke the Box.” He suggests to go out and try something, test it, see if it works, see why it failed, and then go try it again. I say stop poking the box, and instead, open it up and see what’s inside. Make your marketing model one of curiosity and engagement. Don’t wait by trying one thing at a time. Do it all. Go big or go home.
If you have a product or service you are completely psyched about and you know it will meet the needs of your target demographic, put it in front of your customer’s face and let them decide. Create a Facebook page, get on Twitter, create a vlog (video blog), Ping people about updates, creative interactive WordPress sites and interact with them.
The new media marketing blueprint is one of active engagement. Dale Carnegie states,
“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
Get out in the world and let people interact with you, your company and your product directly. Let people talk and engage. The process of interaction develops friendship. A customer who has “befriended” your company will follow and share their experiences with others, making your product grow and spread.