I recently had the great pleasure of presenting a marketing pep talk to a group of local business owners and influencers.
The topic they wanted me to cover? Something that everyone is curious about nowadays, “What’s changing in the world of marketing and public relations?”
This was a wise question to ask. It shows that these business owners and influencers are looking forward and trying to grasp how to better present themselves and their companies across a variety of platforms.
What’s unfortunate is that more people than not are hanging onto what they know. Why? Simply because it’s what they’ve known. The unknown scares people, especially when they’re investing money.
The role of marketing and public relations practitioners should be to not only investigate the shifts in our world, but to also clearly explain these to our clients in order to help them to keep up and adjust.
Here are six shifts in the world of marketing and public relations and what they mean:
1.) From Using Email –> Obsessing Over Email
It seems like not that long ago that email was only used to communicate with distant friends and family members.
As we obviously know now, email is our primary link with business associates, brands and media contacts. It’s where we get pitches and give pitches. It’s where we assign projects and tasks. It’s where we receive news and product updates.
Here are some astounding statistics about email from myMail:
- 66% of email users have more than one account
- 74% of users check their inboxes first thing in the morning
- 56% of users check their inboxes before bed
- 90% of users check their inboxes obsessively throughout the day
- What do they use it for?
- 43% to receive info about products they’re interested in
- 42% for product discounts
- 41% for news
- 50% of users get 21-plus emails a day
- And 64% of users aim for inbox zero
So what does this all mean for the world of email and you?
As any kind of businessperson sending and receiving emails, you need to be sensitive to these statistics. It’s quite possible a heated email or task-driven request sent in the evening may be causing someone to lose sleep. Or maybe your email is getting lost in the fold because your recipient is drowning in 21-plus emails a day. Timing and conciseness will be key to your success communicating through this platform.
If you’re a business owner, and you haven’t used email marketing yet, then you should consider it. If you already are using email marketing then you’d best ask yourself some questions:
- If 66% of email users have more than one email account, are you reaching their preferred account?
- If 74% of users check email first thing in the morning, and 56% check before bed, are you sending emails at the right time?
- If 50% of users are getting 21-plus emails a day, and 64% are aiming for inbox zero, then how are you standing out?
- How are you avoiding the delete button? Or even worse, the Unsubscribe button?
2.) From Informing Customers –> Educating Customers
It used to be that our campaigns were used to inform prospective customers of our existence and current customers of new products/services.
We’re now living in a world where we are so used to this process that our audiences are ignoring us. It takes a seriously grabbing and gripping awareness campaign to start a conversation about your business. It takes an effort that cuts through the noise of all of the other people trying to do the same exact thing.
What inbound marketers have discovered is that simply informing is not enough. They’ve discovered that prospective customers have a lot of questions that need answered. What does this do to our approach nowadays? It makes it an education first, convert to customer later approach.
If you can use research to discover what questions your ideal customers are asking then you’ll be on a better path to educating them. By educating them, you’re informing them. By informing them, you’re earning their trust. Without their trust, you’re nothing.
3.) From Cold Call Sales Leads –> Sales Leads from Internet Marketing
This one is always hard for traditional businesses to grasp, and they hate me when I say it. The warehouse-sized rooms full of salespeople picking up the phone and cold calling is dead. It may work for someone, but I think it’s safe to say that if you still have a sales room with guys making cold calls then it’s time to move on.
We also just established that it’s shifted from informing to educating. In the case of gaining sales leads in today’s climate it comes down to one mantra–the biggest educator wins. This is the philosophy behind the new way to do lead generation–inbound marketing.
In essence, inbound marketing is any digital tactic that pulls your customers to you, rather than the other way around. It starts with a website that’s intuitive, educational, useful and fun and continues with optimizing it for keyword phrases and action-driven thinking. You might be astounded to learn that 60% of customers already know what they’re going to buy before they even walk into a store or make a decision. How? Searching on the internet.
How are you standing out on the internet to your ideal customers? Are you ranking for strategic keyword phrases? Do you even know what phrases to use? Are you blogging? Do you have resources to answer questions? If your answer is no, no, no and no then it’s time to take a serious look at your business methods, especially if business is decreasing.
We can’t deny the supreme power of having a presence in the digital realm.
“You are what you publish on the web. If you’re not publishing, you’re nothing,” says David Meerman Scott.
4.) From Silos –> Full Integration
It used to be that the marketing, advertising and public relations departments were located in three different parts of the building. When they used to cross paths, they’d bump shoulders and have a West Side Story style fight.
Now we are beginning to see those very same people working in the same parts of the building. We’ve seen them integrate their efforts into one, solid push set at achieving common goals.
We’re also seeing a lot of graduates coming fresh out of the gate with a variety of skills that smears the lines between whether they are marketing, advertising or public relations focused.
5.) From Marketing and PR Optimism –> the Sky is Falling and Everything is Dying
Even with all of the radical improvements to marketing, advertising and public relations–and the way they are all done and integrated–we’ve seen an influx of doomsday practitioners.
It used to be that everyone was so excited about social media marketing. Now everyone is saying that social media marketing is dying. It used to be that people were calling for departmental integration and those silos to come down like the Berlin Wall. Now, everyone is saying integration is dying.
At some point or another in the last couple of years, these doomsday professionals have claimed everything was dying. I’m here to tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every business has unique goals and audiences. Because of this, each one requires a different approach, and shockingly enough, it could require the use of a tactic that’s “dying!”
Instead of asking if everything is dying, you should be asking, “How is everything changing?”
6.) From Office Dependent –> Free Roaming
The last shift is incredibly hard for more traditional business to accept.
No longer are marketing and public relations professionals bound by a chain to the bottom of their desks. We can literally do just about do all of our work from anywhere in the world as long as there is Wifi. Studies have even shown that Millenials are more productive when they have free-roaming privileges.
Just in the last two years, I’ve co-led national Twitter Chats from the porch of a house on the beach, conference called prospective clients while on hiking trips in the middle of nowhere and orchestrated entire campaigns with professionals located in different cities across the country all from the comfort of my seat at the local coffee shop.
The world needs to accept that the office life and the way we’re doing business are both shifting. Don’t get me wrong though–I do have an office. In fact, I have two, but that doesn’t mean I’m limited to completing my work in either one of them.
What shifts have you noticed?