All boats rise with the tide…is this a Tsunami coming?
-By Kevin Masi
With a few exceptions (like housing starts), all market indicators are positive. We've seen it in our own business, with a solid close for Q1. This is the result of companies– including our clients — amping up their marketing in response to the gusto of the buoyant economy. However, we're not resting on our laurels. Here's why, as reported by Tony Mikes of our association partner, Second Wind Network: According to a study conducted by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, 54 percent of the top 350 marketers in the US plan to drop at least one of their advertising/marketing agencies this year. In 2006, two – thirds of these companies switched agencies. Public relations agencies were especially vulnerable in 2006, with 35 percent of companies replacing their PR firms. The study concluded that the trend to replace agencies reflects the increasing pressure to show campaign results. Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the Chief Marketing Officer Council, said the Internet is making public relations more complicated and more vulnerable.
The increasing sense of urgency on the part of big business to maximize web-driven marketing is directly tied to their desire to grow and protect market share. Here's our prescription for taking advantage of these fast-moving trends to advance the well being of all businesses via savvy Web 2.0 marketing:
Integrate your offline marketing with the web
To be a successful web 2.0 marketer, your company's web marketing needs to go beyond its website. To be sure, the website will remain a critical hub. But now it's time to think of the whole of the Internet as more than a channel, but a living, vibrant community that fully involves your business, encompassing commerce, customer service, advertising and content of all sorts, which is linked and cross-linked through search engines and community dialog.
Release control; co-create
As you draft your plan for communication on the Internet, do it with the intent to foster multi-directional dialog. That means you want to encourage feedback, commentary and widespread use of your information. The Internet is an open community of social media, where customers are marketers. The online social exchange will spread via search engines and end- users (also your potential customer) more rapidly than you can ever have the bandwidth to do yourself…but you'll have to develop tolerance for critical as well as positive communications. This is part of transparency and integrity of business today. You must learn to live it.
Use all the tools
Email newsletters are going away. Blogs and RSS feeds are taking their place. Posting files for download is cumbersome. Well-organized, searchable and continually updated
content have the ability to enhance search marketing, brand awareness and customer involvement on company websites.
Develop your voice– Sharpen the message that shapes your brand
News releases aren't just for the press anymore; they're also for your customer community. And your communication content isn't about your company anymore- it must provide education and entertainment, delivering value if you expect people to care. These are just a few of the many new facets of riding the new tsunami. It's an exciting time of opportunity…and no time to idly enjoy the current successes of today's economy!
Kevin Masi is Co-founder and principal of Torque, Ltd., Creative Marketing Agency [email protected]m