There was a time, just a few short years ago really, when small businesses finally concluded they must use the web to supplement their marketing efforts and create another potential channel for marketing messages.
Today’s business must evolve that thinking radically again or face extinction. The onslaught of social media use didn’t simply create another set of marketing tactics, it signaled, to those viewing it strategically, a shift in the marketing landscape that has become preposterously evident as we race towards the end of 2010.
The Web and digital interactivity now represents the center of the marketing universe. Most marketing decisions must start and end there. Today’s marketer must view their marketing strategies and tactics with an eye on growing the online center and radiating beyond with spokes that facilitate most of the offline transactional functions that drive sales and service.
All businesses, regardless of industry, have become what I call O2O businesses – their primary marketing objectives are focused on driving people online to drive them offline and in that effort the online core web presence has significantly heightened responsibilities.
Here’s some of what I mean
- While advertising was used primarily to create a sale or enhance an image it must now be used to create awareness about web content
- While SEO was primarily a function of optimizing a web site it must now be a function of optimizing brand assets across social media
- While lead generation used to consist of broadcasting messages it must now rely heavily on being found in the right place at the right time
- While lead conversion often consisted of multiple sales calls to supply information it must now supplement web information gathering with value delivery
- While referrals used to be a simple matter of passing a name they now rely heavily on an organization’s online reputation, ratings and reviews
- While physical store location has always mattered, online location for the local business has become a life and death matter
If you are still looking at your marketing efforts in a linear way – with online tactics falling somewhere in line – it’s essential that you change the way you view this model entirely. Today’s marketer must build from the center first and only then can you create the strong foundation that will carry your marketing into the next decade.