Thursday, May 31, 2012
Digital Marketing Is Marketing
Today, the haystack of available works is getting bigger by the day. Not only do we have the book in print, but conceivably every book ever published and every aspiring work now being published directly by anyone wishing to express themselves. How do we find that needle in this haystack? How do we validate it? How do we value it?
Marketing a book in a mass market environment was often down to throwing money at the wall and hoping some sticks. Yes there was often some great marketing promotions and creative materials, but at the end of the day it often came down to that old retail adage, ‘if it ain’t on the shelf, you can’t sell it.’ The internet changed that and created the virtual shelf. Now the problem was not getting it onto the shelf, but making it visible on the shelf, getting it to the top of the pile and ensuring that it was suitably tagged to respond to searches. Customers also wanted to touch , feel and value inside the cover. Customers suddenly became known on the internet and their habits and likes were trackable, making direct marketing and upselling feasible. However, the customers were owned by the retailers and the publishers were somewhat kept at arms length so remained blind and locked into a mass market. Now we have social marketing, which differs from mass and direct as it is viral and can have a life of its own. It allows everyone to be known.
We now have three marketing tectonic plates colliding each with different drivers, audience focus and potential results today and tomorrow.
The point that readers are often very eclectic can’t be forgotten. Not only do they often read a wide range of material, but they often do so in a inconsistent manner. We often look for different material according the role we are playing at the time or the need we are seeking to satisfy. The teacher will look for, validate and value course material differently from theirown leisure reading – same person, different roles. The student will look for, validate and value the same course material differently – same material, different role and values. These different perspectives of need and value are what makes marketing difficult and the ‘one shoe’ approach often unrewarding to the one person that matters – the buyer.
The latest buzz word is ‘discoverability’. It as if we believe that correctly tagging and referencing material will make it discoverable and therefore a success. Suddenly, many believe everything will become simpler through technology As we all discovered, merely piling money into schemes such as Adwords may have got us to the top of the pile but didn’t guarantee a sale. Getting ‘liked’ in Facebook may give us a recommendation, but actually says little other that it was like for some reason. A Twitter recommendation is limited by its characters and often is like scattering gains into the wind. A lot of the social networking marketing appears to be more about ‘mass recognition’ than mass validation. Perhaps that is the answer, if we can get enough people to say they like it we all believe it has real value?