It’s Also The “Right Now” Of Marketing
Prognosticators abound. They espouse their knowledge of future events, meaning to awe us with their foresight and ability to tell us what’s going to happen long before it happens.
My opinion: If they’re so good at knowing the future why haven’t they won the lottery and retired already?
The fact is, it doesn’t take a genius to predict that social media marketing efforts will grow larger in the coming months and possibly years. Social media is still in its infancy. Even with more than one billion monthly users it is showing no signs of slowing down. More and more people are hopping on board in order to stay connected to families, friends, co-workers; keep track of their favorite sports teams, brands and companies.
In the last six months we’ve seen no fewer than a dozen new social media networks spring up, including a massive new network from Google called Google+. There are new networks planned from Amazon and MSN, both of which will build on their existing client base, as well as many smaller, niche offerings such as ‘Path‘, ‘Posterous Spaces‘ and ‘Quora,’ many of which are still too new for us to judge their full, eventual, impact on the social media web.
In fact, the ‘Social Web‘ is what many of us are already predicting will be the future of the Internet we all use, yet none of us are exactly sure when that will be. It’s likely to a gradual migration rather than a full-fledged stampede, so it is doubtful anyone will even notice the change, just talk about it after the fact.
So, when someone says that social media marketing will continue to grow in the coming years I am hardly surprised, and you shouldn’t be either. The future is a clear path from where we are now to where we are likely to be going. Barring any global cataclysm or alien invasion, it is not hard imaging a future where marketing and social media are the same thing.
Insights from social media
Brand managers can benefit by using social media to understand customer preferences. A savvy marketing manager can analyze social media data to understand customer wants and dislikes. This can help increase conversion rates dramatically. Unlike traditional research where customers are contacted at the convenience of the marketer, social media provides opinions soon after an experience. While the data is easily available, marketers need to put in effort to analyze the data and come up with the right answers. By responding to consumer preferences as soon as they are obtained, a business can modify its products and services to increase sales.
Building customer-centric businesses
The closer interaction with customers and faster awareness of customer opinion can be converted to sales only if the entire business becomes customer centric. A hub and spokes model where the data is analyzed and relayed to the various departments in an efficient manner can help increase sales. Now the product or service has to meet the requirements of the customer and delight the customer to ensure a sale or a further purchase. The entire organization, not just the marketing department, needs to change their view of the customer and understand that the customer is no longer a passive consumer but a consumer who drives the design of products and services.
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