It’s not the message, it’s the conversation.
If you’re facing entrepreneurship as a second career, one of the biggest challenges you may have in establishing and promoting your business is that the marketing environment we grew up in, and are most familiar with, isn’t really relevant to today’s consumers.
There’s been a dramatic change in what type of brand communications are expected, from even the smallest Westchester business. The staggering popularity of social media – 6 out of every 10 people on the planet use Facebook, Twitter, or another social media platform – has created an environment where consumers take it for granted that they can talk directly to their favorite brands about anything and everything related to the brand and get a personal response quickly.
Compare this to the communication vehicles available thirty years ago. There were television commercials, radio advertising, print advertising, and signage to let the Westchester business talk to the consumer. There was no real easy way for the customer to talk to the brand – and certainly no public forum for this conversation to take place. You could write a letter to a company, and wait for them to respond to you – a process that could take months. Some companies had 1-800 numbers so you could call in with your compliments or complaints, but there was no guarantee that those calls made any difference.
The conversation was very one-sided – in favor of the Westchester business. They could broadcast their messaging, and typically, their messaging would dominate the public conversation about that particular company. Today, the consumer has a lot more power in the relationship. Brands have been forced to grow more responsive to and aware of what consumers think, say, and want. The relationship you have with your customers is just as important as your products, services, or expertise. That’s the crux of engagement marketing.
This is the most significant paradigm shift in business communication any of us have ever experienced. Going from the one-way, broadcast model to a back and forth conversation with consumers requires a whole new approach if you’re going to be successful. Learn more about engagement marketing at this week’s SCORE Westchester workshop, Engagement Marketing: Starting with Why on September 19. Registration is required and space is limited, so reserve your space now! For additional, personal guidance, sign up for a counseling appointment with a SCORE Westchester small business coach!