Online Conversations

 

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The most recent evolution of social media tools consists of micro-blogging and blogs, essentially software tools which allow a two-way interaction between a company and its customers. Just as search marketing, banner advertising and email marketing became necessary marketing investments to maintain competitive position, the consensus is that social media and conversational marketing are the next marketing mainstays. According to a study by TWI Surveys of 260 communications professionals, two-thirds plan to increase their investment in conversational tools within the next twelve months, with 81% projecting thatthey will spend as much on these tools as ontraditional marketing by 2012.

This says that, for market planning and budget purposes, it is just as important to get off the 'old channels' and positioned into the new ones. Hence we see recently the falling off of display or banner advertising as a "sweet spot" --- overcrowded, predictable, one-way channels increasingly become obsolete.

BlogswillChangeUrBiz.gifWhy is Conversational Marketing a Necessity of Today's Successful PR Strategy?

Conversational Marketing tools allow companies to rapidly interact with their customers, learning from them, at an unprecedented rate and level. Companies learn from their customers in real-time, in the context of a specific company news item, or in the context of a specific product purchase. In its best implementations, the experience of sales, market research and customer service can all occur in one interaction.

The Need to Stay Ahead of the E-Marketing Curve

At Off The Grid, we fully believe that "this is the game that moves as you play". To stay competitive, companies not only need to introduce new products and services, they need to anticipate the next communication tool revolution (aka beyond blogs) and be there.  You need to ask yourself, is your company providing two-way tools for customer interaction?

The overarching theme here is that the software industry has entirely redefined the playing field for PR and marketing:Successful companies today have IT-fortified marketing strategies which allow them to appear within and leverage the next communication channel with their customer.

 

global%20gossip.jpgIT is Cool - But this is Mostly about Knowing the Customer

It should remain clear that all this is occurring based on the age-old business goals of ' Knowing Your Customer' and, of course, your customer knowing you. With each generation of communications tool, from email marketing to today's blogs, faster and more-indepth information is passed between the customer and the company.

When our clients contemplate taking on a new e-marketing tool, one perhaps unfamiliar to their industry, we invariably come to the question, "But don't you want it to be your company, not your competitor, that learns this new information about customers?"

Changing the Marketing Rules on Your Competitors

Much as companies are judged by their ability to introduce new and improved products, so too we believe companies are increasingly judged as leaders or followers by their choice of marketing tool adoption.

One of the less discussedcompetitive advantagesof new communications tools is that they often come with a "new channel" - one which your competitorsare not broadcasting on yet. As an example, for many products and services, the new social media networks like Facebook, MySpace and Second Life all offered a new "greenfield" audience and channel.

To better see how e-marketing is rapidly taking foot,let's take a brief look at Email Marketing.

On Email Marketing

Email Marketing. The use of email to deliver permission-based communications to build relationships, increase sales and improve customer retention.

Why Use Email Marketing?

1. Whether used in the form of a monthly newsletter, daily tip or special advertising promotion, email marketing has become a mainstay of PR communication. It is one of many tools just like search marketing, press releases and directory placements to raise awareness and encourage customer/prospect interaction.

 2. Consumers who buy products advertised in emails spend 138% more online than peers who don't buy through email. In addition, 29% of all online consumers buy impulsively immediately following an offer, rather than waiting. - Forrester Research, Email Marketing Comes of Age, March 2007

3. Eighty-four percent (84%) of consumers surveyed reported clicking through from relevant email offers. - Epsilon, 2007.

Is this a channel you want to ignore?  Hey, no!

More, More and More E-Marketing Channels

These days, we use our blog to voice our latest thinking on the emerging base of E-Marketing tools. Here's a sample of some of some of the topics we've covered:

CrowdSourcing

Twitter and Participatory Marketing

Viral Videos

Word of Mouth Marketing

Check out some of our Client Projects or contact us to learn more. We'd love to talk to you about E-Marketing, Web 2.0 and the expanding world of new marketing channels opening up!