The power of social media can be staggering, but so can the downward drag of all the dross and spam.
As millions flock to use twitter and similar services, sifting out the rubbish can become a chore (even with clever applications automating it). It’s a bit like discovering an excellent pub where the beer is superb and the conversation even better. At first, a select group frequents the pub, but over months more and more people discover it and eventually it becomes crowded and noisy. Perhaps some of the regulars retreat to a private room to recreate the atmosphere that originally attracted them or maybe even find another pub they can visit in comfort. The pub is now just like any other and eventually it is abandoned and closes as people move on to the next up-and-coming hostelry.
In marketing terms, this happens all the time as businesses look for new ways of promoting and selling their products and services. Underneath, a lot of what they are doing should be the same: researching products and markets, updating business plans, developing campaigns to advertise and sell products.
What does change is peripheral activity: advertising, promotion and public relations. As one method loses its attraction, another is invented or rediscovered. I call it peripheral because it is often the delivery mechanism or format that changes most, although in no way are these unimportant. These activities can range from the traditional, such as print advertising, to the revolutionary and can often be be mixed and matched to suit specific marketing objectives.
One of the most exciting aspects of marketing is finding new ways of communicating that make you stand out from your competitors. Inevitably, others will catch up and copy you, your target audiences lose interest as new campaigns grow familiar until the hunt begins for the next new method.
Change is constant at this periphery, but the main marketing vision has to remain consistent to achieve the objectives of the business plan. Balancing the consistency of the core business vision with the changing nature of peripheral activity is a challenge, but getting it right is crucial. It means that you can choose from a huge choice of marketing tools, watching the new grow old and at the same time keeping an eye on the horizon for tomorrow’s new tools and opportunities.
What’s important is not to be distracted by peripheral vision from seeing what’s ahead.