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Christian Piatt
Writing, editing and marketing services for small businesses
Pueblo, Colorado
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Why traditional marketing doesn't work any more

This isn't your parents' marketplace. Are you prepared to compete in an environment where most of the old publicity rules don't apply? Read on for some tips on better understanding the twenty-first century market.

Written Feb 26, 2008, read 2825 times since then.


Understanding twenty-first century marketing

As network television viewership continues to drop and a number of new media compete for our attention and advertising dollars, it can be difficult to know how to best position our businesses in this new marketplace. Fortunately, along with the increase in information outlets come many opportunities to hone our message and target our audience with laser precision.

There was a time when the pervading business mantra was market dominance. With fewer, more homogenous, groups of consumers available, we could use relatively blunt instruments such as print and televised media to reach a vast population of likely customers. However, the cultural landscape of the twenty-first century, along with the ways in which we acquire information and seek entertainment, are constantly shifting and diversifying.

Many people now prefer web-based media over newspapers for their daily dose of news, and 24-hour cable news channels continue to chip away at network news’ viewer base. Video games are more popular among many younger demographics than prime time television, and mobile technology allows us to receive a steady inflow of information around the clock, wherever we are.

For most companies other than the few corporate giants, the notion of market saturation is no longer a possibility. Instead, we must fine-tune our message with a specific group of consumers in mind, and then make sure that we’re using the best possible means to reach those particular people.

One of the biggest advantages of web-based advertising is how specific you can get. For example, you can dictate within some services that your message only appears when certain keywords relating to your industry are entered into a search engine, or you can do comprehensive analyses of web traffic demographics for high-volume sites, often before sinking any money into a campaign. After the fact, you can generally see the direct results of your marketing plan with click-through rates and web traffic reports for your own site. And if your message is not getting the kind of response you need, it’s much easier to change than in a television sport or radio ad.

Although driving traffic to your website is a manageable mix of art and science, it’s only one step in the closing process. It’s important to have dynamic (regularly-changing) content on your site, since people will only visit a few times before giving up if your information is the same, or out of date. Also, text-heavy pages and hard-to-navigate sites will lose a customer’s attention before they get to the heart of your pitch. Keep the content light and simple, relying on things such as images, video and streaming audio to enhance your message. People want to know there re real human beings behind even the slickest site.

Finally, keep in mind what level of commitment you consider a success upon initial contact. Are you trying to close a transaction the first time someone learns about you, or are you simply hoping to add them to your mailing list? Do you have something free and of real value for those with whom you want to develop a relationship? How much time and energy are you willing to invest in them before you expect a commitment from your customer? How will you live up to your end of the relationship? Will you provide relevant weekly or monthly content that they need? Will your network them with others that might benefit their business? Will you entertain them or provide special offers unique only to you? 

A sophisticated combination of proper planning on your end, combined with a precise, efficient marketing plan on the user-end can result in a significant increase in traffic, captures and sales if the entire plan is well integrated. In short, the keys are:

  • Be clear  about, and concise with, your message

  • Know as much about your target audience and their media habits as possible

  • Know before you launch your marketing plan what the measurable result of success will be

  • Know what you have to offer of value to those who take the time to visit your site

With these simple strategies, you are on your way to creating the web presence you need for real success!

Learn more about the author, Christian Piatt.

Comment on this article

  • entrepreneur 
Belize City, Belize Belize 
Ranjini Charley
    Posted by Ranjini Charley, Belize City, Belize Belize | Apr 03, 2009

    Great article. Marketing online is different from marketing offline. Not only can you get specific, but online readers tend to scan (and since almost everyone is online now keeping this very important fact in mind will increase the chance of getting readers and hence sales from your marketing efforts). Great tips to keep your marketing relevant and effective. God bless..

  • Small Business SEO Expert 
Boulder, Colorado 
Reid Peterson
    Posted by Reid Peterson, Boulder, Colorado | Nov 02, 2009

    Love the "laser precision" and "fine tune" terms. It can be a lot of fun to create squeeze pages for just one long tail keyword.

  • Hotel Real Estate Advisor 
IJsselstein Netherlands 
Ben A. Baars CHA
    Posted by Ben A. Baars CHA, IJsselstein Netherlands | May 05, 2010

    great article, which can be applied immediately!