If the 80's and 90's were the ME generation then the 21st century definitely welcomed in the YOU generation. The Internet brought interaction and individual participation into the advertising mix in ways never before imagined. And with this came a change in the way businesses needed to communicate to their consumers.
Traditional advertising centered around a one way dialog expounding the virtues and benefits of a product. The mechanics of traditional advertising did not allow for consumer content and response. The explosion of the Internet and Social Networks made consumer comments ubiquitous and instant and the age of Engagement Marketing was born. With this came a new set of communication dynamics that turned marketing on its head.
The carrot or the stick?
It used to be said that you “drove” consumers to your website. With over 15 billion web pages published and more every day it is unlikely that a consumer spoiled for choice will be “driven” anywhere they don’t want to go. Pull then becomes the necessary action. By creating content that is engaging and relevant to the consumer a relationship of mutual benefit is created.
So what is the new formula for success?
Simply put, make sure it is all about your consumers. As a business you are only relevant if you add value to their lives. It is necessary for you to clearly communicate your understanding of their needs and lifestyle.
Follow these simple guidelines:
- Don't start with what you want to say, think about what people want to hear.
- Place the emphasis on your customers, they already know you are selling something.
- Listen! When your customers ask a question take note and respond.
- Sell the lifestyle not the product.
In any relationship each person needs to give 50%. However, when you are trying to reach and retain customers you need to give more. Every one knows basic party etiquette. Talking only about yourself is a bore.