Success Comes from Interaction, Not Units
How many times have you had a conversation about the instant gratification society that we currently live in? We talk about the speed of information and the speed of business having accelerated to the ‘nth degree with all the new communication methods. Sure, you can read up on how technology can decrease costs and improve business communications and I wouldn’t argue that point at all, in fact, I’m quite often known to jump to the support of technology and the advantages to business that it would provide. My initial question, though, always seems to carry a negative connotation and insinuate a reference to the younger generation of professionals that are either pre-professional or just starting out in their careers. It’s true that there’s a certain amount of instantaneous gratification that’s expected by the younger generations, but they are far from alone in the modern age.
The economy is growing again and this is something to be extremely excited about as a professional of any kind. There are opportunities for sales and partnerships that people are willing to put a little more risk into than they have in the last few years. However, that doesn’t mean executives have relinquished their tight hold on the reigns just yet. As always they want the highest return on investment possible, but with the shifting landscape of marketing in the modern age it isn’t as straight forward to entice new customers as it used to be.
In the classic (and still used) ways of marketing, the key elements revolved around advertisements in print or broadcast getting in the hands of the potential buyers. These ads tried to be flashy to drive desire of a kind of lifestyle shift that would happen when you owned the greatest new thing. It might be something to make your life easier or make you feel a certain way be it sophisticated or superior. They were designed to attract you to visit the retail location in order to purchase. While there may not have been an instantaneous show in sales due to an ad placement, if the marketing was done correctly and placed properly, the retailer could expect some form of increase in purchasing. But that swift increase in sales isn’t as true in the modern age as it used to be.
The evolution of internet ads and social media marketing has a closer correlation to networking than it does to sales anymore. Technology has put people in a position to constantly be working on the relationship that they have with the public. It isn’t about just paying for a published advertisement once a week or month; now a company can post about itself and interact with its customer base every minute of the day. Are you providing them informational content that benefits them and could affect their decision making abilities? Is your team responding to their comments, concerns, and issues? Just as business relationships take time to build, modern marketing takes time and effort to increase interaction with potential customers.
As companies invest more of their capital in marketing to reach a larger customer base, they aren’t seeing the same percentage of return on investment that they used to with the more traditional methods. This, of course, makes the executive class nervous because they can’t see how that investment is helping them if a sales bump doesn’t follow suit.
They need to understand that in the modern flood of information it takes time to permeate through the noise to your audience. Your new goal with marketing should not be to offer a single product solution but rather to drive constant customer interaction. Reach out to people that are currently using your products. Respond to any and all questions or concerns that get voiced to you through social media. By making that information readily available and keeping it constantly updated you show current and potential customers that you are there to support them and will reach out to ensure that their needs are met in a timely fashion. This, in time, will result in your sales team being able to offer up not only a product for purchase, but a personal affect that will last even longer.
A CEO once said to me “We are all in sales, no matter how much we hate to admit it.” The shift is that we’re not just selling a specific product anymore. Instead we are selling the services that back that product because in this age of information, if you aren’t responding to your customer base as promptly as they are reaching out you will very quickly see them turn to someone else who will.