In the last few weeks I’ve had several conversations with people about how some big trends are changing how people respond to marketing and sales efforts.
One of the people I talked with was Lonny Kocina, owner of Media Relations, Inc. Lonny explained to me how marketing has followed our productive capacity. Mass production of products led to the need for mass marketing of those products. And, mass production helped provide the means to do so: mass communications.
Over the last 80 or so years, the nature of our production and distribution has evolved to smaller production runs and more customized or individualized products. Add to this the new media (the Internet) that gives people the ability to acquire information about almost anything. We now live in an information-rich (and information-accessible) economy where consumers expect to be well informed (with objective, accurate information) before they make a buying decision.
In the past, we could throw simple feature based messages at people and they’d respond. Whether the messenger was mass media, direct mail or a living, breathing salesperson didn’t matter. The message was simple and uncluttered.
Then, things got cluttered. Marketing became entertainment. Much of the product message got lost because the marketers felt the need to entertain people simply to get them to stop and notice them. This took place both in mass media marketing as well as in direct sales. We all had to work harder just to get people’s attention.
Now we find ourselves facing buyers who don’t really want to be entertained, who are busier than ever before, who have access to the same information we do (for the most part) and who expect to be treated like individuals rather than like nameless, faceless, generic, mass-market buying units. (Cue Bob Seger’s “I feel like a number” song.)
In the context of advertising, Lonny says we have evolved from “short-form advertising” to “long-form advertising”.
(Lonny explains this in much better detail in his book: “Media Hypnosis”. It’s available at Amazon.com.)
If this is all true (and I think it is) what does this mean for our marketing and sales?
One thing is this: We have to recognize many of the “old ways” do not work anymore.
For example, consumer based telemarketing. This industry has been wiped out in the last few years. And for good reason. It got to the point where it created too much noise and not enough substance. It no longer added value to people’s lives. It didn’t do enough to help people make better buying decisions. It conflicted with the way people live and the way they want to interact with those who provide them products and services. It became a dinosaur.
Apply these criteria to how you market your business.
Is your marketing going the way of the dinosaur? Or, are you using methods that acknowledge the new world we live in? Are you reaching people in ways they want to be reached, with the information they want? Are you helping them or bothering them?
Tell me what you think. Are these trends real? If so, what do you think we should do to keep our sales and marketing effective?