New Channels in the Mix

Jan Wright, Publisher, iBi

It used to be so simple…back when a solid marketing mix meant TV, radio and print. But today, with so many avenues to deliver your message, it’s enough to make your head spin. So how do you compete in this fractured media world, amidst a barrage of clutter and noise? How does your brand stand out from the pack?

There’s no doubt that marketing is one of the most critical initiatives for any business—it can make all the difference between success and failure. If consumers are not aware of your business and the value you can provide them, you may as well close your doors.

Take Apple, for instance. Its “Think Different” campaign, developed in 1997 when the company was at its lowest point, marked the beginning of a phenomenal turnaround. Upon its launch, Apple felt an immediate boost in its stock price—despite having no significant new products! A year later, when the iMac arrived on the scene, it became one of the best-selling computers in history. But without the preceding ad campaign, the iMac might not have been the company’s savior.

In this issue, you’ll find a host of reflections on current marketing trends from some of the region’s leading experts. And it should come as no surprise that the Internet and social media have upended just about everything.

“Are you up to speed with the new realities in the marketplace, in technology, in peer-to-peer recommendation systems, online reputation management, and the psyche of the roving, wireless, always-on, multi-networked consumer?” asks Steven Streight in this issue. Well, are you?

“Marketing as we knew it is dead,” proclaims Chris Shay of dba/design & marketing. “Long live ‘unmarketing!’” In referencing the best-selling book, UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging, Shay explains that yesterday’s corporate marketing language no longer works for the majority of consumers. It’s not enough just to tell people about your company, taking care to paint its image in the best possible light. Today’s consumers must be engaged—you must develop a personal relationship with them. Enter the likes of social media…

In this issue’s lead article, our new associate editor, Stevie Sigan (Welcome aboard, Stevie!), examines the pitfalls of handing over the digital reins to users. The explosion of online reputation management companies is testament to the tricky nature of monitoring your brand online. Even as I write this, McDonald’s is in a PR bind as a result of a Twitter campaign that spiraled out of control. (Google #McDStories for more on this interesting tale.)

But some things haven’t changed. The business owner must still utilize traditional methods in his or her marketing mix. While it can bring extraordinary dividends when properly used, social media is not a replacement for traditional marketing. Multichannel marketing is still where it’s at—only now, there’s just more channels. iBi

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