Came across this cartoon on mashable. One thing is for sure: The 100+ M blogs and social sites out there are not only making more information available for decision-making but also the way consumers synthesize information to make decisions at a personal and professional level. One can argue however that at many levels nothing really has changed from the past. After all, the objective of being able to outperform competition in communicating a differentiated message to the customer has not changed from the time man learnt to market his wares. Yet the similarities tend to break down as soon as one peels the layers a bit. New challenges or opportunities (depending on where one is on the adoption curve) emerge in this new scenario.
What Same:
For thousands of years, the objective of the marketer has been to be able to create a signal, above the noise that exists in the market place, in order to convey message, to sell a product or a service. It starts with a clear story, aligned with the marketing strategy, placed in a specific channel, targeted at the specific segment to get the attention and force an outcome. If positive, the feedback can be used to (a) convey the value proposition to a new prospect and to (b) communicate with the original prospect (now a customer) to drive repeated consumption. Even as the world has shifted away from a physical, uni-directional, company driven communication to a digital, bi-direction, co-created messaging paradigm, these fundamentals have remained exactly the same.
What’s Different:
In this new paradigm the opportunities are multiple: (a) direct conversation with a customer which allows analytics around habits and consumption (b) instantaneous feedback allowing appropriate response and (c) rapid proliferation through co-creation and strong positive signaling. However with any gains, comes a set of pains! Any glitches (perceived or otherwise) that elicits an adverse reaction can be amplified enormously and deter newer prospects. Also customer expectations on response time have collapsed from months or days to seconds, requiring the need for advanced monitoring and response management. Additionally the explosion of channels makes finding the right audience at the right place increasingly complicated compared to those days when there were a few industry magazines or trade journals.
How should one play the game:
A. Strategic Focus on Social Media Mix: Organizations need to adopt this as a part of their marketing mix.
B. Invest in managed channels: Getting a captive audience to continually communicate with and covert from prospects to buyers, is a dream for any marketer. While this requires a comprehensive strategy to attract, retain and sustain customers, this is the only way to stay connected to customer, 24×7.
C. Listen and monitor: Digital Analytics is the first line of defense against any negative feedback from spiraling out of control and also assess which messages are landing and how.
D. Win the Influencers: It’s impossible to be omnipresent in the unlimited world of digital. However influentials can be leveraged to reach the relevant audience. The best place to start is the advocates on your managed channels before looking outside
Happy Reading, and looking forward to thoughts and suggestions.

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