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Social Media’s Dirty Little Secret? Everything Is Marketing Now.

For all the talk about social media, few organizations are prepared to learn that social media has a dirty little secret. The implications are massive.  Some people deny this entirely, but…

…if millions of Americans have joined social media platforms in recent years (and they have)

…if the average Facebook user has 338 friends (and they do)

…if mobile devices with all of their posting and publishing and photo and video capturing power are now in the hands of the majority of American adults (and the are)

…then social media’s dirty little secret is that everything is marketing now.

And not just the stuff you consider marketing. Everything. EVERYTHING.

From the quality of your packaging to the helpfulness of your customer service representatives. If it’s hard to get on the Wifi in your shop or the store smells funny or the bathroom isn’t clean or the food isn’t yummy or the driver gets there late or the warranty doesn’t cover that or the experience doesn’t wow, you have to learn that everything is marketing now.

How Did This Happen?
When the customer became a publisher and a videographer and a photojournalist and a commentator and a curator and a critic with an audience it changed the balance of power.

The deer have guns now. Hunting for customers will never be the same.

That means everything you do is marketing whether you like it or not. Social media’s biggest impact on business isn’t the tools and technology it gave you to reach people. It’s the ability for people to connect with each other to talk about you. Every aspect about you. From the way your CEO gives a prepared statement to the way a technician smiles (or doesn’t) at your front door. You may own your trademark but you don’t own your brand.

The Upside
This is all good stuff by the way. It seems negative at first. Losing control always feels like that. But the upside is huge. You can make everything marketing now:

  • You can make better products.
  • You can reward your best customer service reps and get more like them.
  • You can make your packaging easier to open and more beautiful.
  • You can improve your logo, graphics and overall presentation.
  • You can preassemble your product so it cuts the assembly time for your customers in half.
  • You can ask your field representatives to find ways to surprise and delight customers that have nothing to do with what you sell them.

And then, in time, those people with their mobile devices and their 338 friends will talk and share and like and buy and you’ll have earned their attention and their loyalty. It’s not going to happen quickly, but when it happens you’ll never want to give it up.

Photo credit: “08 july 31″ by (cup)cake_eater is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This entry was posted in Philosophy of Work, Social Media Strategy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Laura Owens

    Great post Bill! My favorite line is “The deer have guns now. Hunting for customers will never be the same.” Marketing has changed because the way we (as marketers) connect with our customers has changed. Marketers need to realize that a deeper connections with our customers is good – for both the customer and the brand as a whole.

    • http://www.microexplosion.com Bill Seaver

      Thanks Laura. Well said!

  • Cris Hay-Merchant

    Nice post, Bill – really summarizes the world today. I agree with Laura; I love the line “The deers have guns now. Hunting for customers will never be the same.”

    • http://www.microexplosion.com Bill Seaver

      Thanks Cris. I appreciate it. I wish I could say that I came up with the line “the deer have guns now” but I heard that seven or eight years ago and I’ve never forgotten it. I’m surprised more people haven’t used that line.

  • http://Servprobellemeadewestnashville.com Rob Dixon

    Amazing post Bill…..”the deer have guns now”. Classic. I have been handling our social media over the past six months and I have enjoyed the control but I am looking for ways to get my team to engage with me on posting. Hope all is well with you in Hendo

    • http://www.microexplosion.com Bill Seaver

      Thanks Rob. All is well here. Let me know if I can help you guys out. I’d be happy to talk with you again.

  • Jim Robinson

    Good chuckle on the deer quote.
    Another dirty little secret concerning the internet is “disintermediation & arbitrage destruction.” With more information, customers have better intel on prices and who sells what. It’s nothing to buy spices directly from Baton Rouge instead of locally, not to mention getting on Amazon or similar sites to get global access. So yes, marketing needs to make you “special” to your customer. Better yet, become “indispensable” to how your customer does business or their life-style. If I knew that trick, I wouldn’t be working for the government. :)

    • http://www.microexplosion.com Bill Seaver

      Thanks Jim. Yes, being indispensable to the customer would be ideal!

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