There was a time when markets were literally markets. These were bustling places that placed relationships and individual customer’s front and centre of their very existence. Then with the industrial age, there was a shift that saw the economies of scale being achieved in the factories demanding economies of scale in the markets, also. To achieve this, the techniques applied to the manufacturing process were then applied to marketing, which in turn brought about the implementation of mass marketing to fuel consumption.Fast forward 100+ years, and this has led to a situation whereby on any given day via email, contextual ads, TV, radio and a myriad of other forms of advertising, in the US people are exposed to an average of 1500 – 2500 marketing messages per day. While the ultimate goal of these marketing initiatives is to generate leads, encourage referrals and generate loyal customers that lead to repeat business, these techniques are not as effective as they once were.This decline in the impact of traditional marketing initiatives is down to two key elements – over-saturation and the Internet. The airwaves are effectively too polluted and people have simply ‘been burned to many times by false promises and there is a paradox of choice’. ‘People are simply too busy to listen to marketing messages because they are too busy listening to their friends’ – (Tara Hunt from her awesome book the Whuffie Factor).Furthermore, the networked effect of the Internet has ‘allowed markets to become more connected and more powerfully vocal every day’ (Cluetrain Manifesto – go check this out if you haven’t already picked it up).So with marketing messages not ‘getting through’ to prospects and people being sceptical about the content of messages from companies, the traditional marketing funnel is arguably no longer working. Traditional marketing techniques can no longer control the conversation like it once could, and social media is rapidly reducing the impact of these techniques further. Once aware of products, people now learn from each other and social media is the core driver for this. This has now grown to a point where social media has ‘increased the influence of people and decreased the influence of marketing’ (Groundswell)In the spirit of the ‘markets are conversations’ philosophy of the Cluetrain Manifesto, customers within the traditional sales funnel are now engaged in conversations via blogs and social networks with their friends and peers, and its important that companies join in the conversation. Ultimately in this new era of marketing influenced by the Internet and social media ‘shouting doesn’t work – conversation does!’ (Groundswell).In this case, the ‘internet has brought about a new found transparency to business whereby the market conversations allow for the truth to be told about a product and for people to reclaim their voice in the market but this time with more reach’ (Cluetrain Manifesto).So, with interruption marketing having less influence, marketing is going to need to both adapt and adopt new techniques to ensure it continues to add value to the business generation process.How are you going to change?
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