Marketing is all about experimenting, testing, and trying new things that get the attention of buyers. Whether that is through television ads, radio, print, or social media channels, everyone just wants a little slice of attention.
According to Wikipedia, the first official, paid television advertisement in the United States was on July 1, 1941, over New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies.
The ad was for Bulova watches, and the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary). The ad displayed a WNBT test pattern made to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase “Bulova Watch Time”, appeared in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one full minute. Approximately $5.00 for a full 60-second ad during prime-time television. Attention was cheap. The world has definitely changed!
Sales has always been about connecting and building relationships with those potential buyers. A salesperson’s job is to be likeable enough to form relationships with people and then establish trust and help that potential buyer make an informed decision.
I started my first business in 1995 and my sales and marketing activities consisted of spending hours down at Kinkos (now FedEx Stores) making copies of brochures to send to potential clients to try and get their attention. I would then spend hours dialing for dollars, making cold calls and follow up calls to set appointments. Those were the days before caller ID, and people actually answered their phones.
Our first website was built in 1997, which was just the brochure I had copied over at Kinkos, put online. Aside from designing a logo, business cards, and stationary with our company information across the top, I really don’t remember having many other “marketing” activities. I did write articles for a hardcopy newsletter that I mailed out quarterly and a few of my early clients published some of the articles in their hardcopy newsletters as well.
Today my sales and marketing activities have moved online. I don’t mail anything, but instead send links and videos. I don’t do much of anything in the way of actual sales calls. Instead I spend more time creating content that attracts people online and then our team spends time answering questions that companies have about setting up company Facebook business pages or how to optimize blog posts to be seen by more people.
As consumers we are influenced by digital marketing as we make decisions every day. When we want to go out to eat, we use our mobile devices to look up restaurants and book reservations on sites like OpenTable. We research hotels, plumbers, dentists, and even funeral homes on Google or Yelp, and then talk about the service we get on Twitter, Yelp, Trip Advisor or Facebook.
Businesses don’t all like these tools, and it’s usually the businesses that either don’t know how to use them or the ones that have poor reviews listed on them.
It’s a wild, wild, social world we live in. Our in-person lives, or IRL, are tightly connected to our virtual and online worlds. We are connected 24/7 365 days a year. The social world doesn’t sleep, and it doesn’t take vacations. Or at least if it does take a vacation, it is well documented on Instagram and when it sleeps, it’s probably using an app like Pzizz or Calm to help guide them into slumber.
AND IT’S STARTING TO CHANGE AGAIN
Today’s consumer is so accustomed to jumping on social media channels to connect with a brand for customer service, that we are seeing a few interesting changes coming. The expectation that there will be a real person responding to a request online within minutes has gone up.
We love living a digital life, but now we want high-touch service that comes with the digital world. We are using digital devices with artificial intelligence to help us connect with content and people. Think of Alexa, Siri or Google to name a few (They really need to give Google’s AI device a real name. Perhaps Gracie). A JWT Intelligence/Mindshare study of U.K. Consumers found that 36% love their voice assistant so much they wish it were a real person.
I have to admit, I do wish my Alexa device had arms and legs and could follow me around and bring me coffee. Now with the devices adding video screens, we can do video calls as we cook and sing karaoke-style to our favorite song and I’m guessing it won’t be long before we can summon the digital customer service agent from our cable company via video to help us walk through resetting our cable box. What am I talking about… we won’t really still have cable will we?
There are other signs of wanting to go back in time and humanize our technology-filled lives. Today it’s very retro and cool to have vinyl records and Fujifilm’s Instax cameras with instant film (think mini Polaroid). We see more people buying board games, taking up knitting, and then posting about it all on Instagram. Our worlds are colliding.
Brands must figure out how to be more responsive, with real humans, working on digital channels. People don’t trust as much as they did even a few years ago. According to the 2017 and 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, consumers have lost connection. They no longer trust brands, or political systems. Instead of looking to the large entities, people are now seeking out smaller intimate groups online that they feel connected with.
The rise in unique Facebook Groups is a great example of this. We all need to explore ways to deliver a fantastic customer experience and to connect with our consumers in a more human way. Read more on this in our post, “Facebook Algorithm Changes: 3 Things Your Business Must Do” for more ideas on how to bring back the human touch.
Marketing has fundamentally changed. No longer is it just about getting people to look at our billboards or websites. It’s no longer about interrupting people to LOOK AT ME, although many still approach it that way. Today, marketing is about creating something or some things that people are drawn to because they want it. They want to be smarter, more informed, more popular. Marketing is about drawing people closer to our virtual street corner to engage with us and get to know, like, and trust us. We get to know and like them as well and then trust that they will buy whatever it is we are selling, even if we are selling ideas.
How are you seeing marketing change in 2019? I'd love to hear from you below in the comments. If you would like more tips on keeping up with all of the changes, jump into our