Marketing has come a long way in the past decade, and much of that change can be attributed to the Internet and the ever increasing interaction that occurs on the Web. That interaction is one from buyers, potential customers, and businesses alike, and all three parties are trying to understand where they stand and what direction they are going. More important, though is the redefinition of the relationships between companies and buyers. With two-way communication taking place everyday, it’s hard to tell where marketing ends, PR starts, customer relations begins, and what really differentiates the various business categories.
An important question to ask, then, is if categorizing the business activities really matters. From a managerial perspective, it might, as part of the manager’s responsibilities is delegating tasks to various departments, but from the consumer’s standpoint, the relationship is all that matters. Despite that important fact, there is a long-standing debate over who owns what in a business; does marketing own social media? Does PR own customer relations?
An answer to that can simply be that every department is responsible for interacting with buyers and following up with them as they try to interact with you. In the past, marketing offered two options: advertising (which was often costly, inefficient, and tedious), or praying that media pick up your story and put it to print (also ineffective and somewhat hit and miss).
Now, companies can bypass media outlets and rely more heavily on the success that PR can have today with things like social media, press release distribution sites, a company’s own website, and direct communication between the company and current and potential buyers.
What comes with this new ability for companies to interact with buyers is a new sense of responsibility that needs to be adopted. Customers are getting used to the idea of companies bombarding the social media scene and are, in turn, hoping and waiting for companies to be responsive and responsible for their social media use. What does that mean? Simply that if you want to use social media, do so with the intent of reaching and communicating with your buyers. This doesn’t mean that you can send out information without replying to information being sent to you.
To have success with marketing today, you must personify your company and really work hard at fostering relationships with your buyers online who are looking for that relationship. Though companies no longer need to rely on marketing firms to do things for them, they do still need to do the things that these companies were doing, and then some. Things haven’t changed that much that customers don’t want to be talked to. The change is seen more in the way in which customers like to be communicated to. The old one-way communication tactics of the past that interrupted customer’s lives and screamed for their attention are no longer affective. With things like TiVo and DVR, customers can skip your ads and read about you online.
Stop wasting your money on advertising and invest in PR and Marketing. It will make a world of difference.