I read an interesting blog recently that more or less “proved” the essence of social media in an informal way. Jonathan Budd, an internet marketing guru I happened to run across in the past few weeks, performed an experiment with his email list. The more “chummy” his subject line on his email, the more opens he got. This, Jonathan, surmised, was because people were looking for friendship and authenticity.
“We are entering the age of NATURAL conversation. Cheesy marketing messages, “Old” tried sales tactics, all the rest is becoming more transparent then ever. People don’t want that… they want YOU. They want to friggin know YOU. They want to buy your stuff, but they just want to trust you’re a real person first who cares about them!”
All together now. “Awwwwww!!!!”
In essence, social media, email and even text marketing are simply the new modes of transportation for good, old fashioned sales and customer service. Remember door-to-door salesmen and the milk man? Remember when deals were made on just a handshake? Think that…only on rocket launchers (with either a pop and fizz, or a boom! and pyrotechnic sparkles at the end)?
Somewhere along the way, business got more gimmicky than relational. It was the loud, edgy commercial, the slick and cluttered junk mail and people dancing at intersections with your company phone number on a placard. This was the marketing world your mother lived in (and still lives on today for kicks and grins).
But it is no longer your mother’s marketing. This is your grandmother’s marketing on a double grande with whipped topping. Sure the tools – social media, SMS or even blogs – make a difference when it comes to where your market is located, but the field is level where every man’s neighbor, friend, brother, etc. has a chance to shine just because they got the character, authenticity and transparency to, more or less, win friends and influence people. To seal a deal with a virtual handshake and smiley emoticon.
It is relationship marketing. If a business can grasp this concept, the tools will be of no consequence.