Contributor

Senior marketer and brand enthusiast Stephanie Millman leverages years of experience in....more

Marketing is Dead

The changes our industry has seen in the last five years may suggest that marketing is dead. But is it?

Based on this popular topic in a Harvard Business Review blog, traditional marketing communications is no longer effective. Our market has a massive global reach with new competitors popping up seemingly daily. Buyers exhibit very little brand loyalty and the avenues for getting leads, which used to be through a few select industry sources (magazines, tradeshows, direct mail), now are handled in multiple locations online for customers to find you based on keywords ( and if you are not listed on their keyword search results, for example, it’s as if you don’t exist).

To some, marketing really does seem “dead.” But it is not.

Marketing is still very much alive. And, it is the communication method that has been turned upside down! Traditional marketing in the past has been an outbound communications exercise of print advertising, announcements, product tear-sheets, direct mail, and brochures. Today, these traditional marketing tactics have changed significantly because of a little thing called the Internet and a major movement called social media (case in point--see how PFFC has changed!). 

Today, marketing communications is about transparency, two-way interaction, and public connections with customers. It’s about being current and relevant online. Here are three big changes to focus on to stay alive and thrive in the game:

 
1.    Digital – Commit to being strong in your digital communications. Update your site so it is always current (consider agile development and cloud-based content management), and become digital in how you send information. This may seem obvious, but I’m amazed at how many companies still need to mail me packets of information, OR they email me a large PDFs that take up space in my email server and I have to download to open! Make your content available online. Convert your documents into public or password protected printable webpages and offer links. Only email or snail mail data if requested.
 
2.    Post – designate a group of people in your organization who can post reviews and interact with customers. Have them develop groups and join sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter as well as contribute to targeted sites like trade show blogs, MFG and directories such as Thomasnet. Make sure your team is aligned with your market message. Have them tell stories to support your brand messages.
 

3.    Use video. In 2014, 77% of visitors online will view video at least once a month. To engage customers and properly tell your story, invest in video. Even if you sell parts that go into OEM products, tell the story about your offering as Corning did in my example video where they painted a picture of the way their products will influence the future. This delivers huge brand credibility. Simple video can be fairly inexpensive, just make sure it reinforces your messages and engages your customers with something that is relevant and helps them connect with you.
 
Marketing is very much alive. It has changed from an outbound communication methodology to a movement of connecting with customers digitally. Leadership in our industry has been slow to adopt.
 
It takes executives with foresight to champion this communications change and move their marketing resources to more human expenses (labor) to support social media and online design and less in print communications of yesteryear. They will know to expect push-back, both internally and externally because leadership and vision is always met with reluctance to change. But true leadership embraces change and that is how to stay very much alive in the marketplace!

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