New media marketing is about being the best. Offer the best information. Have the best value for your customer. When you’re the best, people will follow you. When you’re not, people will follow the best. The good news is, there’s lots of ways to be the best. Here are 4 steps to market new media.
Step 1: Have a clear and defined purpose, don’t generalize.
For those of you who don’t know, there is no singular "best" anymore. Well there is, but nobody cares. As one Amazon employee put it, "we sold more books today that didn’t sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday." What does that mean? It means people like what they like and, in an Internet-based new media economy, they can find it and buy it. It means people like what they like, and they don’t care what you or I like. It means you can be the best in your niche, even if you have to invent it. It means you have to figure out what you can be the best at first, and market second.
If you had to choose today, right now, what you or your company was working to be the best at would you be able to? Or would you generalize. For instance, if you were a book on Amazon, would you be the best in "Books > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing". Maybe, but to be more specific maybe you’d prefer one of the following:
- Books > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing > Web Marketing
- Books > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing > Web Marketing > Social Media
- Books > Business & Investing > Marketing & Sales > Marketing > Web Marketing > Social Media > Facebook
Step 2: Choose, and choose wisely.
In new media there are many, many ways to connect with people. Twitter is great for short messages if you don’t mind of other users can listen in on your conversation. If you do mind, maybe SMS is a better, more direct, option. Both are limited to between 140 (twitter) and 160 (SMS) characters so, if that’s not enough space, maybe you should start a wordpress blog — be sure to leave comments enabled. If the blog is not conversational enough for your clearly defined purpose then make new friends on facebook. Still not conversational enough? Discussion boards are also a great place to meet people, contribute, and read other peoples contributions. Or try mySpace if your goal is to be heard, or youTube if your goal is to be seen as well. If you’re looking for something more immersive, maybe Second Life is right for you. Email itself is unidirectional, but groups and list managers can enhance many communities.
Remember, success is in making the choice. Choose a media and work hard to cultivate it. Do not generalize. Attempting to do everything will result in doing nothing successfully unless, of course, you have the resources for that. Very few do. If you are one of the many, each media you decide to take on will diminish the value you can offer to the relationships of the others. How close can you get to a friend who spends most of their time with other friends? Not very.
Step 3: Contribute.
Marketing 2.0 is not about shameless self promotion, it’s about relationship cultivation. I didn’t sign-up for GM’s Re:Innovation twitter account to be told to test drive an equinox twice a day. I did it because I wanted to hear what they are doing different this time. I want information, real information. They didn’t give it to me, and I don’t follow them anymore. Your customers will do the same. There is a reason that there’s no successful "all commercial, all the time" television station. Advertising is the price we have to pay for free content in Marketing 1.0, not Marketing 2.0.
Filters have gotten very good at ignoring advertisements, and people have gotten even better. I have a DVR at home, I don’t watch commercials unless I want to. I use gmail every day, all day, and I can’t tell you what ads occupy the eight or so spots on the right side of my screen. This morning I drove 100 miles through three states and I can’t tell you what one single billboard said or what one commercial on the radio was advertising. I can, however, give you a solid overview of any of the many blogs I read today, or tell you what my facebook friends are up to, or give you the status of the iPhone 3.0 OS real-time release. I can do this because I care about the content. The content impacts my life and I have the opportunity to impact the content.
Step 4 – 100: Cultivate.
Virtual relationships, much like "real" ones require you to care. Respect still has to be earned, that hasn’t changed and there’s no quick formula to get it. This means you have to listen as much as you talk. Heed the advice of others. Relentlessly filter though all the comments and questions, and love it. This is not an exercise in futility. Every topic you post, every comment you read or make, every question you ask, every answer you supply each helps you too. Learn from yourself. Learn from others. Take an active and real interest in the community you’ve come to be a part of and grow with it.
Marketing 2.0 is about Customer Relationship Cultivation, not Management. The goal is to grow organically with the community through synergistic nurturing, not to control or expedite growth. Be wary of those who will rush the process — typically markters and advertisers. These people will seek to rush the process. They are hastily in pursuit of returns. Do not be suckered in by them only to diminish everything you’ve worked to cultivate for a quick fix.
What comes next?
You’ve become one of them. You now share the mindset of your customer. You know what they feel, it’s how you feel. You know how they react, it’s how you react. You’ve immersed yourself into the community and become a part of it. Now, only through genuine interest and good intention, you can being to seek monetary return on your investment. You’ve worked to gain the support of others and in doing so positioned yourself as the expert, the leader, the go-to person for all things [insert defined purpose here]. You no longer have a need to exploit because you’ve gained so much in the way of knowledge you can apply and feedback to refine ideas.
Marketing to your community is no longer marketing. It’s offering a product or service that genuinely benefits them. Something they want. Something we all had an interest in helping to create.