If you’ve never heard of Brian Solis or read his book The End of Business as Usual, I highly recommend it. I wanted to highlight a passage from this book because I feel it gets right to the heart of where marketing is today…

“It’s easy for a brand to assume that customers are alike. After all, they share the same needs, wants, and desires. They face the same challenges and hurdles in life, personally and professionally. They each follow the same routine in making purchase decisions. Customers equally subscribe to the same sources for information and idly wait by their smartphones, tablets, laptops, and TVs awaiting the next set of instructions from brands that reveal their next move.

Does this sound like you?

Of course not!”

Mobile User Ignoring Billboard - Illustration

The Connected Consumer

Yet, so many businesses still market under these assumptions. Why? Because they are either uninformed or unispired and in either case unwilling to break free from the mold of business as usual to try something new.

In his book, Brian talks about the connected consumer. This is someone empowered by their unfettered and unfiltered access to information. They have at their fingertips all of the advice, tips, articles, research, etc that their bandwidth will allow them to uncover.

This is dramatically changing the landscape of business in the sense that consumers no longer adhere to the traditional sales funnel model – everyone -> prospect -> lead -> hot lead -> customer.

Now with smartphones, tablets and PCs, consumers are no longer allowing themselves to be lead down this narrow path. They are more elusive than ever. They are expecting that brands and companies in general “be there” when needed. Are you there?

Of course it’s difficult to be all things to all people. That’s kind of the point and being all things to all people is not what I am advocating here. What I am referring to is a new type of marketing – connecting. Instead of shouting from the rooftops, get down on their level and talk to them as you would a friend.

And engage in the conversation because that’s what business is today, one giant ongoing conversation. You are either the obnoxious loudmouth who interrupts and is in love with the sound of his own voice, the wallflower who is non-existent, or the engaged participant who listens and offers valuable insight to the discussion. Which one do you prefer to be around.

Digital Marketing – Being IN the Conversation

So, how do you participate in the conversation? By being there contributing to the discussion as it relates to the solutions you offer that solve the problems your clients have. It could look something like this…

  1. Blogs – I love the example in Rebecca Lieb’s book, Content Marketing – Think like a Publisher. She talks about the soldering supplier who has 73 different blogs on soldering! The crazy thing is… they are wildly successful. Why? Because welders are passionate about soldering and these blogs all speak to that. This goes so much deeper than an ad in Welder’s Monthly (not a real publication but you get the idea)
  2. Responsive design – Part of “being there” is being there appropriately and effectively. Responsive design is a term that refers to design that responds to the device on which it is being displayed. In other words, a website on a mobile device appears specifically for the mobile user, is easy to navigate, read, etc. That same website appears accordingly on a tablet and a PC. In other words, engaging in the conversation effectively and appropriately.
  3. Content marketing – Another buzzword but an effective discipline nonetheless. Content marketing is the practice of using relevant, useful content published as blog posts, webinars, online video, podcasts, white papers, etc targeted to the connected consumer empowering them to make educated choices and pass their experiences along to others.

This list could go on. The point is to be the company you would buy from. And be in the conversation by staying active in educating and empowering targeted connected consumers through the use of the new tools available – social media, blogs, websites, mobile, location based marketing, etc.

Get involved and get active. What do you respond to as a consumer? What are you doing as a marketer to be the company that YOU would buy from? Let me know in the comment area below.

And of course Wood Street would be more than happy to talk to you about your blog, responsive design or content marketing efforts.

Jon-Mikel Bailey - Before co-founding Wood Street in 2002, Jon worked in sales, marketing and business development for technology and marketing firms. A popular speaker, he gives seminars on marketing, internet marketing, branding and web design to chambers of commerce, trade associations and colleges. He has a BFA in Photography from Frostburg State University and still shoots photos for Wood Street clients.

2 Responses to “Digital Marketing and the Connected Consumer
  • I didn’t make it to SXSW this year, but I heard that the theme of the entire conference was solely: content marketing. Definitely becoming the revolution of rankings, from an SEO point of view. Nice post Jon, thanks!

    – Tommy

    • Thanks Tommy! Yes, I heard the same thing. The key will be running an effective and relevant content marketing campaign instead of simply contributing to the noise.

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