Let’s talk a moment about the traditional marketing model, the one most of us started out with. It was primarily a one-way street, with advertising flowing from companies to consumers. People watched television, saw ads, and chose which brands to buy.
These days, a lot has changed. Enter the new consumer: smart, savvy, and social. This is a consumer who uses mobile Web while shopping to find the best products, who gets referrals from friends on social media, and who researches brands on Google. This new consumer is likely among the 86% of the population who no longer watch television commercials, and also probably throws away direct mail as being irrelevant and unwanted junk.

In short, this is not someone you’re going to woo with old-style outbound marketing campaigns. You have to bring something more to the new consumer, or better yet, find ways to bring the new consumer to you.
In recent years, we’ve seen a significant shift toward more labor-intensive inbound marketing models. Whereas in the past, marketing budgets were spent mostly on expensive ad campaigns, now the budget is one of time and effort rather than cash. Customers want to make decisions for themselves, and your job as a marketer is to give them the value they seek so that the decision becomes easy.
Adding value through traditional or online marketing is no longer just a clever extra, it’s an integral part of the entire marketing process. While providing this value may seem like a lot of hard work, it’s important to think of it as an opportunity to grow at rates never before possible. With the instant feedback that the Internet provides, you now have true two-way communication that can help clue you in to the changes you can make to attract more customers, and gain greater customer loyalty.

Ensuring Quality Content

As always, quality content should be at the core of your marketing strategy, and here are some guidelines you should be using to make sure you’re on the right track:
• Consistency and relevance. Every piece of content, whether on your site, on social media, or anywhere else, should reflect back to your chief company objectives. The content should be relevant to your brand message, and of value to your audience.
• Alignment with brand identity. If you have not documented your brand identity (which is more than just your logo), then it’s time to get that squared away, as all the content you create has to flow from it.
• Supporting evidence. Today’s consumer has a level of skepticism that you need to be prepared for. The more supporting evidence you can show for your claims, the better. This can include testimonials, research findings, or even the findings of independent authorities in your industry.
• A strong measurement system. Having appropriate metrics (and Web analytics) and listening to what your metrics are telling you is one of the key factors to marketing success.
In short, the advent of the new consumer is your wake-up call. It’s time to rethink how you interact with your audience, and your ability to adapt to these newer marketing models will largely determine how well your brand survives.
About the author: Katleen Richardson of Marketing AdvantEdge is an experienced leader who builds integrated strategies combining research, data analysis and creative thinking. She has delivered successful solutions for the publishing, financial and telecommunications industries, as well as for conference and training companies, and professional associations. Her approach is to design customer focused, cost-effective solutions based on cross functional collaboration and results-based metrics.