Bridging the Gap: Understanding New Marketing Tools

Ten years ago, Websites were called new marketing channels and experts wondered when print and TV ads would die. 

Today, Websites are a ‘traditional’ marketing channel that some people question the relevance of and social media is all the rage. 

Five years from now, social media will be traditional and something else will be a hot topic. 

This is the evolution of marketing - new things will always be emerging, but they don’t necessarily replace what was.  Instead, they simply enhance your options and expand your creativity.  If current conversations about LinkedIn, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter make your head spin and leave you wondering how these fit into your marketing plan, consider this: all of these things are simply new tools, not new methods.  Yes, really.

Think about a car.  At a very basic level, cars get us from point A to point B and they’ve been doing this for over 100 years.  Over the years, new tools have been added to cars to get us to our destination faster, cheaper, more comfortably, and more safely but they still get us from point A to point B.  New marketing tools are the same – we are still communicating with prospects and customers, but we continually have new tools to do it faster, cheaper, and better. Still not convinced?  Consider these:

  1. LinkedIn is your online business card – with a whole lot more functionality than a paper card.
  2. Content that used to be in a printed brochure is now on your Website – and you can update it constantly.
  3. Facebook ads are a new kind of banner ad, and you can pinpoint your demographic with razor-sharp accuracy.
  4. The content of white papers and case studies has turned into blog content made even richer by a community who comments.
  5. The information that used to be in your newsletters or e-mail marketing are now conversation-starters on Twitter or Facebook.
  6. Your portfolio is not in a large zippered case anymore – it’s on Flickr or YouTube and available for anyone to see at any time.

Key to keeping your marketing current is taking the time to understand the basic purpose of the hot new tools of the day.  Once you know what a tool does, it’s easy to see where it might fit into your business and enhance your marketing efforts.  Keep in mind that not every tool is right for every business and not every business has to use every tool.  Good marketers will constantly assess what is available and determine the right tools to deliver results.

[Image courtesy of rocknroli]