Welcome to 2009, the Year of Engagement, Social Marketing and Web 2.0, Part 2 of 2
This week, I continue my look at the trends that'll shape multichannel marketing in 2009, in particular how social media and customer reviews can benefit your business.
(For part 1, click here.)
Adapt or Die!
Clearly, the way to adapt to changes in the marketplace is to get out in front of the wave. It’s not too late, so don’t fret if you're not. As a direct marketing consultant, I’m in the same boat. With a background steeped in the more traditional direct marketing principles, I need to be more on the cutting edge, too. In the last year, I've become enamored with social media as a marketing tool and its potential to engage.
What Are You Waiting For?
I conducted an informal survey over the past few days on how catalog/multichannel marketers have integrated social media into their overall marketing mixes. Here’s what I found:
- Half of the catalog/multichannel companies I surveyed had MySpace pages and/or Facebook groups.
- Only one was tweeting away on Twitter.
- I didn’t see much blogging or message board adoption.
- Usage of Flickr and YouTube didn’t even register a hit.
These results dovetail with a recent poll we ran on CatalogSuccess.com. For the poll results, click here.
Compared to another group I looked at, pure-play Internet retailers (let's call this the control group), catalogers' social marketing adoption was minimal.
So why is that? The biggest concern I hear from catalog/multichannel marketers is negative publicity around their brands, which brings us back full circle to our control issues and the whole concept of customer centricity.
Ask yourself the following questions about what kind of role social media plays in your business:
- Are you afraid of negative publicity? If you are, why? Do you not want to find out what your customers are talking about? Or what you can do to fix or improve your company? If you bury your head in the sand, the ruthless truth is your customers will bury you. Like the proverbial Chinese alphabet character for “danger” having the same meaning as “opportunity,” now is your chance to become truly customer-centric — to finally understand by listening to the Internet chatter about your company.
- If you're using social marketing within your business, is it just a tactic? Are you using it strategically to understand your customers? I'd guess the big question here is this: Does the data/information the marketing team obtains from its social outlets trickle up to the C-level executives?
Maybe the new paradigm shift should be, “If you listen, they will come!”
Jim Gilbert has had a storied career in direct and digital marketing resulting in a burning desire to tell stories that educate, inform, and inspire marketers to new heights of success.
After years of marketing consulting, Jim decided it was time to “put his money where his mouth was" and build his own e-commerce company, Premo Natural Products, with its flagship product, Premo Guard Bed Bug & Mite Sprays. Premo in its second year is poised to eclipse 100 percent growth.
Jim has been writing for Target Marketing Group since 2006, first on the pages of Catalog Success Magazine, then as the first blogger for its online division. Jim continues to write for Total Retail.
Along the way, Jim has led the Florida Direct Marketing Association as their Marketing Chair and then three-term President, been an Adjunct Professor of Direct and Digital marketing for Miami International University, and created a lecture series, “The 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing,” which he has presented across the country at conferences and universities.