When I think of technology in marketing, my mind instantly goes to a bunch of code flashing on a computer and a computer geek who interprets data and tells a marketer about the data. The marketer then helps a business with their marketing plan. This is pretty far off. Marketers and even small business owners are now expected to be able to understand and interpret data. There is no longer one person who just works to understand marketing analytics. Everyone has to play an active role in understanding technology. Now more than ever you have to understand technology’s role in marketing. If you can’t keep up with the times, you will fall into the slippery slopes of old tactics that don’t work anymore. It’s so important not to fall down a slippery slope or you could end up wasting hundreds of hours. So without further adieu, here is how technology is being used to avoid slippery marketing slopes in 2018.
A Conceptual Guide of the Marketing Landscape History From 1995 to 2000
To understand how to avoid the slippery slopes of technology and marketing today, you have to know about some slopes that some people have already hit and that is the point of this section. To do that, we have to go back in time a little bit, specifically to the mid-90s. So 1995 was kind of the arrival of the internet so to speak. Previously, all marketing was done on radio and television after it became popularized in the 1950s.
When the arrival of the internet came a revolution in marketing happened. Internet became the new popular medium that people were starting to do business transactions through. Businesses began emailing each other to collaborate and this was revolutionary. With this, email marketing was born. People who sent out thousands of emails got the most attention and sold the most products. Soon after, banner ads were created in which advertisements on the side of web pages became an attention hot spot. People who caught on at this time made it big. It was at this point that people who were still trying to advertise on the radio fell down a slippery slope. TV also became more of a slippery slope. So this was the slippery slope of the mid-90s, not adapting to the arrival of the internet.
The Next Slippery Slopes: Not Selling on a Website and Not Selling on Amazon
The next slippery slope came right after not adapting to email marketing and banner ads. Once the internet hit full force, internet sales started. Amazon and Ebay started in 1995 and they absolutely took off. Then many companies started selling online with websites to compete. This worked really well and people made a lot of money. But soon, many companies started to realize that Amazon was so popular that they couldn’t just sell on their website; they needed to sell on Amazon. Everyone started selling on Amazon in addition to their websites. Companies that didn’t do websites or sell on Amazon saw major fall back ie) Toys’R Us.
The Misconception of Today’s Slippery Slope
As a quick recap, so far we have not doing banner ads, email marketing, websites, and Amazon as slippery slopes. That brings us to a slippery slope that is extinct at this time. We are finally getting to the point where everyone is on social media. A lot of people still think that many businesses are suffering from not selling on social media. They would be right in the sense that not many businesses have a presence on social media. They would be wrong in assuming that people aren’t trying to sell through social media. The difference between having a presence online and just trying to sell online is huge. People who just use social media to sell, won’t sell. People who use social media to build a community, and then ask for a sale after they have provided value will sell. Every single business is finally realizing that they need to be on social media. It took a long time to get to this point but there is a misconception that the major slippery slope of today is not selling on social media. That’s not true because everyone is trying to sell on social media, they just don’t know how.
The Slippery Slope of Today
Finally, that brings us to the current slippery slope of today. That slippery slope of today is spam-botting. Everyone has finally reached this point where they know they need to get attention. Everyone has social media but virtually no one knows how to use it right. Just as people adapted to website and social media banner ads (how many times do you click ads on social media ads anymore? My guess is 0), people have adapted to spam botting. How many times do you get Facebook friend requests from people you don’t know? How many times do you get invites to like business pages? How many times do you get weird messages from people you don’t know to get you to do something? The first few times you ever experienced this, you might have done something that that person asked but my guess is that you know better now. Humans are smart enough to know if someone is just spamming them.
What a lot of business owners are doing is trying to go get a ton of people to like their page and sending out pitches for people to buy their products but the problem is that there is no sense of community. You are much more likely to buy some shampoo if your friend recommended it to you then if a salesman did the same thing. We need trust. Trust leads to business conversions. So with that being said the “Avoid the Slippery Slope of 2018 through Technology is to build an online community”.
Building a Community
So many people are confused by marketing in 2018 because they don’t know whether to post on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Snapchat, Tumblr, or Instagram. It’s hard to build a community if you don’t even know what platform to be on. It’s really intimidating and a lot of people just end up giving up. Here are just a few examples that might get you to start thinking the right way about things.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is a platform that idolizes glam. This is the perfect place to post if you are a bakery, fashion, or food place.
- Tumblr is the art platform. People engage with artistic posts and artistic content. If you are an insurance agency spend no time on Tumblr.
These are just a few examples that might give you a jump start on figuring out where to start building a community. I can’t go into great detail about each platform but I can give you some direction as to what you should to in order to not end up wasting loads of time.
What You Should Do
Once you know where you are going to long-term build your community, it’s important to put out engaging content. Almost every platform will make things more visible if it’s engaged with more. If you are putting out sales pitches, you aren’t going to get any engagement and therefore no visibility. What you need to do is to tell your company story and make people like your content by posting witty and insightful content.
If you struggle with this, there are agencies that are dedicated to help businesses start to understand their customers and how to engage their customers. One of my favorite businesses right now that is doing this is Signal.co. This company literally analyzes every single piece of content that a company puts out, how their customer engages with it, what marketing campaign to start next, and they monitor all of these changes over time. Powerful stuff.
In conclusion, you have seen some slippery slopes that have hurt businesses. You understand the pattern of innovation and technology with marketing. Marketing is easy conceptually (get the most engagement which will lead to conversation) but it is extremely hard to sort through. Marketing has changed so drastically to the point where it is now a more guess and check kind of a game where you learn a platform’s analytical tool and monitor how your content engages with it.
Marketing is also a lot less sales-pitchy then it used to be. Everyone has adapted to that. So in finishing this up, the current slippery slope of 2018 is that people are acting like spam-bots on social media to get the most likes on their business page. This actually backfires and polarizes people. Instead, businesses need to use technology to put out current and engaging topics that make their users more likely to interact with their content. Once they have interaction, they can then ask for a sale or lead them back to an engaging website that easily displays the product (an absolute necessity). If you know you struggle on social media but don’t know where to start, I recommend buying Gary VaynerChuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook on Amazon.