By Adam Fraser
Technology moves fast these days. Like Uber-Fast. New platforms, new technologies, new gadgets.
From Snapchat to Google Glasses; Google Maps to Smartphones, things are moving and changing at the speed of light.
So clearly marketing has fundamentally changed as well to adapt to this new technological landscape.
Well Yes and No….
And surely the older generations can’t keep up and have nothing to add in relation to best practice?
Well Yes and No again…..
Marketing has of course adapted to the new social media platforms in terms of story-telling in a way which is native to the new medium. You don’t just shove a TV, radio or billboard ad onto Facebook, Twitter and Instagram do you? (if you do we really need to talk…..)
However customer service and the customer experience still matters. As does truly caring about your customers. Word of mouth is still the best form of marketing. When you say it, it’s marketing. When your customers say it for you it’s social proof and truly meaningful.
Which brings us onto our grandparents/great-grandparents generation. How did business work in those days? This evokes images of wandering around a town square, knowing all the local merchants. The small town rules. Business owners knew their customers. Writing thank you notes. Neighbours knew neighbours. And you cared. Or you went out of business….
The butcher going for your preferred cut of meat even as you enter the shop because he knows you so well. The baker greeting you and asking how your kids are. A village atmosphere where everyone knows everyone. Business based on meaningful, long-lasting personal relationships. And great customer service leading to differentiation from mass merchants and the ability to build a loyal ‘tribe’ of customers who told their friends.
And if your service wasn’t to scratch? Well of course you would let your neighbors know.
Fast forward 3 generations and everything has changed. We shop online. We are unlikely to know the names of any shop owners. We don’t wander around quaint village squares greeting people as they pass.
However one thing remains the same. Word of mouth matters. Customer service matters.
Only now word of mouth doesn’t just mean you tell half a dozen close friends and family. Amplification is in play. Listen to the echo….as everything (literally) is published and discussed on social media.
To tens…hundreds….possibly thousands of people in a click.
But lets forget the extremes. Every day normal people are talking about your product, your service, your offering. Are you listening? Are you engaging when it makes sense? It’s a cliche but the conversation is happening around you; at worst you need to be actively listening, at best you should be engaging, facilitating, educating, helping. And providing “wow” customer service, which people are more than likely to share.
Much of this may well require 1:1 interactions with heart, not a broadcast blast to many. This can only be scaled by investing in (the right type of ) human capacity.
Be that old time merchant who knew his customer, listened to their thoughts, and provided a service to please.
As leading social media commentator Gary Vaynerchuk said “As the world goes Jetsons, act like the Flintstones”
The old time business rules will still serve you well whatever technological platform is the medium of choice at any given time. The internet (and social media) is a new way of communicating not a new way of running a business.