in Social media

How the web has changed the rules on marketing

With the advent of the Internet, the web and social networking platforms such as facebook, digg and others, marketing has had to change gears.

The web has opened gateways to reach buyers directly with messages that cost a fraction of what traditional big-budget advertising costs.

It’s been said that the web is not about one-way interruption, (IE: In your face marketing/dvertising) but what Seth Godin calls permission marketing.

What works on TV, print and magazines does not necessarily work on the Internet.

David Meerman Scott’s excellent “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” explores the sea change in online marketing and branding from old-school rules of marketing to new ideas such as social networking, virals, blogs and most importantly interaction.

Amongst many of the old rules of Marketing that Scott analyses are:

  1. Marketing simply meant advertising (and branding)
  2. Advertising needed to appeal to the masses and is by-in-large, one way
  3. Advertising relies heavily on interruption to get people to pay attention
  4. Advertising and PR were/are seperate disciplines run by different people with seperate goals, strategies and measurement criteria

Whilst Scott offers the following as new rules on marketing/pr (Often referred to ‘convergence’);

  1. Marketing is more than just advertising
  2. People want authenticity, not spin
  3. People want participation, not propaganda
  4. The Internet has made public relations truely public, and global
  5. Blogs, video, podcasts, and other forms of online content let organisations communicate directly with buyers
  6. The web has merged the lines between marketing, branding and PR into one

In terms of press releases, the Internet has really changed the goalposts. No longer does a small business have to write to an editor of a newspaper with a “news worthy story” (whatever that might mean) and cross their fingers and wonder if the editor will publish the story.

With the Internet small businesses can use services like PRWeb and other third-party PR delivery systems that can send the story global.

Political advocacy via the web during this current American presidential election is perhaps a potent indicator that social media marketing, virals, blogs, videos, etc can make an impact; though whether online advocacy leads to offline voting has yet to be proved.

In terms of business models, one must be able to prove to customers that is worth paying $X a month for a service that they may get elsewhere for free.

A lot of what’s known as “web 2.0” businesses give away a majority of their content for free and for extras they create a premium service. That could be a premium online streaming TV channel, or premium content that you wouldn’t otherwise get with free access to their site.

IGN.com, for example, has lots of free content but they have a premium service which gives you features that you wouldn’t normally get; such as HD video, upcoming news, demos and so forth.

An excellent technical book called “Web 2.0: A Strategy Guide: Business thinking and strategies behind successful Web 2.0 implementations” by Amy Shuen is an excellent book explaining how web 2.0 can make money and goes into far more detail than I can.

What the web has proven is that the Internet is not so much about technology as it is about people, using a variety of tools to reach customers/buyers directly and and engaging with them. Online marketing is now all about participation, connection, reaction, involvement and no longer about interruption marketing for the sake of interruption.

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