Saturday, October 20, 2007

Connecting With Customers

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Excerpted from Connecting Clients to Customers through Social Media Optimization | 7 Pillars of Internet Marketing (October 18, 2007 – 8:25 am)

Every few years major changes take place on the internet and often times this is driven by the way the internet is used. A major shift in the use of the internet has been taking place. The shift is one of transformation from finding information through search engines and buying things through portals to one where people turn to other people for their recent in depth knowledge of an issue or experience buying a product.

Google actually finds itself in a precarious position as a company attempting to protect old revenue streams resulting from search, while simultaneously moving into new social media territories that make Google Search as we know it obsolete.

How Does Social Media Marketing work?

If you had a good experience with a realtor, and a friend asks you, "Do you know a good realtor?" Odds are you might tell them about your experience and the name of the realtor. Offline this is as old as money, possibly as old as bartering, its called word of mouth. Online when a person shares their experience about a good or even a bad experience, its called social media marketing.

Google Search relies on an old derivative of word of mouth marketing online. That derivative is powered by the ability of a person or company to put together a website and take the time to mention the value or non-value of a product or service or even a subject. It used to be technically somewhat difficult to launch a website. Not everyone knew how to do it, nor had the money to hire a pro.

My Take

Social Media Marketing is happening. It will heavily impact the local market where millions of small business owners and professionals serve the needs of consumers and other businesses.

But these business people won't engage an ad agency to energize their social marketing. They need an effective, simple tool that captures the word-of-mouth that is already happening.

Can this model be monetized? (The crucial question.)

The answer depends on whether or not the model can demonstrate to these business owners that paying for advertising after it's already made them money beats the old way of thinking. Whether it's valuable to stay close to their loyal neighbors and customers vs. to essentially ignore them with their ad $ and to spend their budget on the Yellow Pages.

My prediction - a revolutionary model - a "Connect-gine"TM will come along.

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