Rewriting Online Marketing – Selling Trust Instead of Products
The world is familiar with standard online marketing approaches whose core principle is to “sell products” and virtually all marketing strategies traditionally implemented are geared to achieving that principle. Concepts like achieving market penetration and capturing markets are drilled down on to become implementable strategies which become action plans that get funded with advertising dollars and resources are brought to bear to target consumer markets and geographies to advertise the products being sold in an effort to gain consumer mindset and generate resulting sales. The focus has always been on selling the product and the advertising dollars are being spent to achieve that objective.
Enlightened marketing efforts in the past few decades have been to wrapper selling the product inside frameworks called “solution selling” which strives to figure out what the needs of the consumers are and sell solutions for those needs with the product that is ultimately being promoted being a key or integral part of the ultimate solution set that the consumer must purchase to achieve the solution to his need. The consumer is now being sold by adjectives such as “prestige, success, health and wellness, look your best, smart, economical, style, reward yourself, etc.” These needs by the way, are often also manufactured by the advertising entities involved, the consumer often not even recognizing he or she had this need until such time as the solution is presented to their world. This is a more subtle way of getting the products ultimately sold so that revenues can be generated but it has become necessary in many product markets as the consumer has become more and more resistant over time to direct product marketing approaches.
A current world reality: Just as products are evolving so are consumers and they have become more aware of solution selling and manufactured needs creation by the marketing and advertising industries. The products still need to ultimately be sold so strategies for doing so need to be devised that now, don’t just meet the needs or manufactured needs built for the consumer by the advertiser, the corporation must be selling itself as well. People will buy from corporations they trust and they are looking now beyond the products; they are looking at the corporations themselves and even more so due to the impacts of the Internet and social media, they are looking at the people they have met and now trust online to tell them which corporations and products should be trusted.
Don’t get me wrong, many corporations over time and with great products and customer support have earned a lot of trust and supportive customers over time. But what if you are not so well known? How do you get people who have never heard of you to buy in to your products and services and become repeat purchasers? One strategy now is to take it out one further level and this is where social media marketing comes into the picture. Get people who are trusted by hundreds and thousands of loyal followers to mention you and even promote you. Instead of spending fortunes trying to get your brand out there and trusted, have people who are already trusted tell others about you. Many corporations are now undertaking this extended marketing approach seriously and social media leaders in content creation and distribution, well-known bloggers with good following bases and more are obtaining deals to promote products, endorse products, write product reviews to be posted to their sites, etc. They are creating videos, writing posts and articles, testing products and writing reviews, etc. and are getting paid to do it by these corporations looking to gain market penetration for their respective products and services.
In fact, in the world of Internet Marketing, there are now also brokers in existence that specialize in putting corporations and content creators together; often even working out many of the contract details between the respective parties, acting as facilitators. Even traditional advertising agencies are starting to look at extending their services to corporations in this capacity. Why? They are responsible for the EFFECTIVE use of a corporation’s allocated advertising budget and social media is now where it is at. TV advertising is being skipped over by consumers more and more these days and is losing its effectiveness as a result. Traditional newspaper advertising and flyers aren’t working as well. Where has the world gone? Look around. The world has gone digital and moreover, it has gone “Mobile”. In fact, many people aren’t watching traditional TV any more – and a lot of this is due to ads getting in the way of content and having to wait till certain times to watch a show. Now they can get entertained on demand through companies like Netflix, YouTube, iTunes, and others.
Websites are now being built with “Responsive Designs” so that they render well on smart phones and tablets. The Google search engine itself rewards websites with more views if they know the websites are rendering well on mobile platforms and they are penalizing those website businesses who cannot render well to a mobile platform.
A Smart Phone is no longer just a phone. It is an entertainment centre and a window to websites on the Internet. And this is the space of social media. People are watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, interacting with friends on Facebook, sharing photos with Instagram, pinning on Pinterest, posting to blogs on common interest blog sites, looking for jobs or resources using LinkedIn and other services, playing games and more.
The source for much of this Entertainment and mobile device interaction comes from the Internet. This is where people now are and savvy corporations are now trying to figure out how to advertise there. People are following people out there, not corporations. So this is why social media advertising has to become the next big direction for corporate advertising. It has to evolve to it or get left behind. Already advertising entities are looking for places to place their budgets here on behalf of corporations and as I said, a brokerage business network between the corporate world and social media practitioners is emerging. Spend time on places like Pinterest and you can see it happening all around you and online businesses are springing up and at-home businesses are starting to tap into these revenue opportunities.
So if you represent a corporation, be aware and be looking to develop social media connections to promote your business. If you are a traditional advertising agency, be looking to extend your services to social media and start building your bridges to people in this space. And if you are a blogger or content creator, start thinking about how you want to work with corporate and advertising agencies remembering that you also have to keep your integrity to keep the loyalty of your followers while tapping in to the advertising opportunities that are starting to appear in front of you. Trust after all is earned and not sold…