- October 19, 2009
The death of many intrusive, one way, and/or antiquated media is upon us. For many, this comes as a blessing. If you aren’t prepared for it, and it’s the only way you market your business, you may want to pay attention.
In the old days you may put an ad in the Yellow Book, where you could sit right next to everyone else who does what you do, and hope for the phone to ring. Well, Verizon sold the phone book for a reason- they saw that medium’s impending doom. Phone book use is dropping big time as more and more consumers turn to the web to find answers fast. While the phone book isn’t intrusive, it is certainly one way and increasingly a more antiquated media outlet. Phone book ad sales have plummeted in the past 5 years as more and more business turn towards the internet to spend their marketing dollars.
Think about it, what do you do when you need to find a restaurant, get an oil change, or find an A/C repair man? Technology is growing so rapidly now, that many people get answers almost immediately from their phones. Really though, the answer for most people is the same- we go to the internet when we want answers and we want them fast. We search them out in search engines like Google or Bing, or we ask for suggestions and read recommendations on sites like Yelp, Twitter or Facebook.
The problem with this antiquated marketing is that it doesn’t allow consumers to interact. When was the last time you looked in your phone book and could instantly read reviews from someone who ate at the restaurant you’re thinking of going to? Umm….never! If you want to find out the dirt on a restaurant that could possibly save you time, money and a bad experience, you can ask people you trust or read reviews online.
Wouldn’t it be nice to learn that 30 people thought the food in a particular restaurant sucked, the bathrooms were dirty and the waiter was rude? Well, with the internet you can find out BEFORE having the experience. Not only that, you can find out where to go to have a wonderful, relaxing experience with superior service and fair pricing.
In fact, the Yellow Pages company has moved online in an effort to keep their company afloat, but I fear it may be too little too late for them. We shall see…
The Yellow Page medium for advertising was fairly effective when people turned to the Yellow Pages to look something up. I know clients who used to spend upwards of $20,000 a year on their Yellow Page ad. No longer. That medium has become antiquated and is no longer effective.
A much more annoying type of advertising, commonly referred to as intrusive media, is marketing that slaps you in the face; uninvited, and usually unwanted.
How many times have you been watching your local morning news on the TV only to have some super annoying car “salesman” yelling in your face about some limited time inventory reduction deal? I use the word salesman in quotations because if these guys had a clue about marketing and advertising, these commercials wouldn’t be around. In fact, we’ve been looking to buy a new car lately, but have actually left a couple of dealerships because the “salesmen” are more like buzzards swarming in on a kill than qualified sales professionals ready to help answer your questions.
This type of in your face, intrusive, try to sell you something you don’t need (or want) approach is dying off as we enter the “age of the consumer” where consumer’s voices are increasingly more important and more easily heard. Companies who fail to adapt to these changes will soon find themselves slim on new customers. Smart companies are paying attention to what their buyers actually want and need.
There is another type of marketing seeing big changes. It’s too new to call antiquated but as far as the internet is concerned, it’s super old school. I’m talking about email, and it’s marketing equivalent the email blast. This type of electronic marketing where your message is sent to a prospect via email, can still be effective. But the rules have changes. Spam laws are constantly changing, and in order to have an email blast that gets through without ending up in someone’s spam box, it is best to first build a list through some other offering and then market to a clean list that has given your permission to market. The term “permission based marketing” has evolved from this concept and is more in line with what consumers what and expect from the companies they patronize.
This is the age of the consumer, so be wise and get interested in sites like Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, Linkedin and the like. Whether or not you are in the conversation, people are probably talking about your business. Being part of the conversation allows you hear what’s going on, solve problems, build a following and promote your brand the right way.