The “social media” network is neither a trend nor a fad. It is real and it is changing how businesses think their pr marketing strategies.
Businesses have changed their approach on marketing as new technologies emerge. Look at radio and television. It made marketers, pr clients; all change how to reach their audience from traditional print media. Then came direct mail, telemarketers, and catalogs. This again forced marketers to re-think their approach. If you do not change your pr marketing strategy or your overall advertising plan, then you will be left in the dust as your competitors move forward.
I have written several articles on this web 2.0 subject for the past 8 months. Warning pr clients, ad agencies, and publicity firms to “open their marketing eyes” and look what the Internet is doing. For example, no longer is the marketer in charge of telling the consumer about their great product or service. This doesn’t make the cut anymore. It is the consumer who is in control. They tell you what they want, when they want it, and how they will buy it. If your pr marketing strategies are not including this process of the consumer, then you need to re-think about changing to another marketing company that is sensitive to the Web 2.0 and how it affects pr clients.
I read a great article in Brandweek that made me realize marketers, and pr clients alike are not addressing this new social media correctly. It’s called “The 12 Steps to the Interactive Future”. It mainly highlights the 12 steps written by Larry Weber who is an expert on social media. His book titled: “How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business”. I will give you a few of the steps now, then a few more in another blog.
1- Change your marketing mindset. Marketers still define target markets by communicating with prospective customers, building loyalty. These old techniques are not going to work today. Your pr marketing strategy, or ad plan needs to re-think, get out of that old box mindset. You need to be more transparent to the customer. Don’t try to brag about whom you are and your product. It is about nurturing relationships and dialog with customers, prospects and all those active in the community.
2- Make your brand come alive. To make a branding program successful today you need to recognize that brand equity is shifting away from brand essence and brand recall. Mr. Weber points out that branding is a living thing. Something that marketers cannot accept, at least not yet. A good example of this new dialogue is GoogleTalk, Google Groups and Blogger. Oh, did you notice these are blog type-sites. Something I have been pushing for two years! Google keeps asking customers what they want and then responds. That’s making your brand come alive!
3- Out with the old Segmentation. It doesn’t surprise me that marketers for the most part, still segment their pr marketing strategy by demographics such as age or gender. Ok, some products and services need to do this. If you are promoting an assisted living complex, yes, then some of the traditional methods work. But today, you need to segment by behavior, attitudes and interests. Forget the age and gender. These groups are what are important, not age, or gender.
These three points of the 12 should make you realize that the Web 2.0, or social media, or Business Web (all are the same, just different tags) shows how you, as a pr client, or marketing professional needs to re-think your mindset. If not, then read my next three steps. Happy marketing!