Marketers Need To Be Engaged In Consumer Dialogue
Consumers are a moving target like never before. Multi-tasking is the norm, attention spans can be measured in nanoseconds, and no longer will people accept simply being at the receiving end of information. They want to create it, interact with it, send and share it.
In an effort to keep up, marketers have allocated more and more money to the Internet - buying up banner, audio and video ads; but, often with the same methodologies of old media: audience size, demo, point levels, and efficiency. The new realities have shown us that the old way is no longer as effective. Today, marketers need to adapt and be a part of the conversation.
In particular, our current reality and how marketers can connect with their target audiences can be viewed by studying the differences between traditional broadcast radio and the new world of online radio.
Traditional radio strength was always in its ability to connect with listeners - run a contest and people will call-in to win, host a concert and people will buy a ticket, trusting the voice they've come to know and love to not steer them wrong.
Since 1996, consolidation has done much to temper and lessen traditional radio's impact: with regional programming and national initiatives driving one-size-fits-all formats and fewer local personalities. Radio has become less personal and mass marketing does not have the same effect in today's evolving media landscape. The Internet has changed all of that as it is a gathering place for like-minded individuals where people are creating communities around shared values, whether that value is their political or religious belief, their favorite band, store or coffee shop.
And unlike traditional radio, these voices aren't one-way communicators coming out of the speakers - they are the consumers expressing themselves (their views and opinions) vis-à-vis blogs, chat rooms, message boards, and social networking websites and online forums where information is being shared at an ever increasing pace.
What can marketers take from this? Conversational marketing is key. It is better to be part of the conversation. Engage your consumer - find out where they go, what they do and what they are saying. And invest in environments that spark that engagement, thus enabling marketers to interact with consumers' conversations and become a part of their lives.
Progressive companies are beginning to take advantage of conversational marketing through the use of online audio platforms that allow advertisers to put their clients directly into the conversation. Rather than competing with many advertisers for a share of voice, these companies can now have real, one-to-one interactive conversations with their key constituents.
While traditional media will always have its place, many advertisers are discovering a new truth: it is far better to participate in a conversation with a small group of people who are passionate and interested in their product -- the long tail means niches are king and engagement is the new reach.
Success or failure in any advertising campaign has always been measured on results. And, new media outlets are able to deliver those results - in new, measurable, track-able ways.