The role of marketing is now moving in a completely different way to the one we are used to. The past has seen the door-to-door sales person, leaflet drops, radio and television advertising. Now the change has begun with the advent of Social Media through to Social Business and Social Selling – the whole concept is going to evolve and change very rapidly.
Whilst we are a few years away from feeling the full impact of Generation Alpha, we are currently seeing the way Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z are changing us and the way we receive marketing. These generations are moving on to new forms of communication, entertainment and engaging, thus creating a two tier system for us to work with but are you really understanding this two tier society within Business Engagement?
With the prior Generations, still liking to receive marketing communiqués, listening to the radio and watching television as well as paying attention to advertising that may present itself to them; penetration is still less than 40% for the Digital and Technology marketing penetration worldwide.
This means, we still need to adopt the traditional method of marketing while also adapting into/migrating to email advertising (depending on the audience, this is also becoming less and less too), promotion/knowledge sharing via online methods with platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (to name a few) as a way of promoting both you and your business.
With these Generations prior to “X” still utilising old “Traditional” forms of advertising and knowledge sourcing, you need to actually think….
Who is my audience?
Are they different to my prospective client base?
Are my clients wanting advertising or been kept informed?
Yet the advent of Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z are showing that they have different requirements and needs. Most of what they want to hear, see and do is produced by the people they surround themselves with and interact with – Social Collaboration and Social Engagement!
Previous Generations sourced their knowledge, education and entertainment from books, classes/clubs, radio, television and newspapers/magazines before graduating to and/or combining with the Internet and then YouTube to start replacing classes/clubs.
While these new Generations are taking this to the next level – more and more entertainment is moving from the Internet and YouTube to online channels which are being created to niche or mass markets. More and more Podcast Channels are appearing alongside YouTube Channels together with the advent of online streaming services.
These generations are becoming more commonly known as “Cord Cutters” because they are aren’t tied to any service. Instead they are cutting themselves free of being tied to an aerial, satellite or cable. Now, they can stream Podcasts and Videos from these online channels as well as choosing such services like Amazon Prime or Netflix to watch the shows they want to watch and when. This then creates a revenue issue as they can buy on demand or find the service they want all without adverts, as the whole concept of watching or receiving adverts isn’t something they want or wish to have/receive.
If they are interested, they tend to go for the modern new way of what used to be called “word of mouth advertising,” but in this case it is Social Selling via what their friends and connections are talking about. Hence the rise and rise of the hashtag – # and all leading to more and more – Social Collaboration and Social Engagement!
(NOTE:- The ” # ” is placed before a word or phrase when included in a tweet or post/status update to highlight or share something).
Therefore, when they are looking for something they will use the search facility contained within the platform they are on and search for that item, issue or clarification of something they need. The search results will bring up the tweets/posts/status updates containing the words or phrases preceded by the “#” or with the exact word or phrase. The results and who they are from are KEY!
They will appear and will be from people who are their friends or connections (their FIRST line/level connections), followed by people who are then one or two levels away, next the results will be from other people or companies promoting and discussing themselves in respect to the search question who aren’t connected directly to them or their FIRST line/level connections and then finally from results of search engines connected to the platform you are on.
This is where Social Selling becomes key, as these new generations are taking these results from their friends and connections (in their first level of connectivity) as trusted information like “word of mouth” and using it to base their decision making process on.
So what does this mean for you and your company….
Traditionally we have used libraries or reference books as sources of information, then progressing on to using the Internet via Google and other Internet Search Engines like Ask, Bing, Yahoo etc. However, this hit a problem! So many people were becoming dissatisfied with searching online due to the fact that companies could pay to get their on the front page of results, in the promoted section or on the side bars. Plus new companies came about that were offering to help other companies get on to the first page due to using SEO. This produced an issue. Are the results we see in search real? Could it be even the worst product with a huge advertising budget get onto page one or at the top? Hence, Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z are wanting things that they can reply on and where best to make a decision? Of course via their family, friends and first line level of connections!
Therefore, what you are needing to do more and more, is to create the content that is based around what people will be looking for.
If you are providing or selling a service/product, make sure you are talking about it in the way someone would create a search. By using this format, you are creating content which then becomes part of the content you are placing on your website, blogs, posts, status updates and the discussions you have.
This content (which is being included in conversations) will then be your embedded Content. This isn’t new or unique to you. You are using the words and placing them into the phrases that everybody is using in the roles of their everyday life. You aren’t creating anything new, you are simply placing this content within your site, your literature, your advertising, your tweets/posts/status updates, etc, etc.
If people then search for this, it will appear in the results they are looking for from their friends and connections who have discussed this topic with others or you/your company.
This “Content Marketing“ is the foundations for the “Social Selling” that they are using more and more and all comes from them utilising “Social Engagement.” In turn this is the best example you will of “Social Collaboration” – it’s everyone working together to share knowledge and assist one another without thinking of it or about it, and not expecting something in return.
So, make sure you are starting to lay the foundations of your Content Marketing as it is not just Social Selling where this is going to be key, but also in the areas of iBeacons, BLE and NFC marketing too….