To Reach Your Customers, Be Where They Are

Online Marketing is Here to Stay, it’s Time to get in on the Action

Sacramento Business Journal – by Debi Hammond, Contributing writer, Marketing

Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Still, so many companies continue to market their businesses the same way — traditionally. That’s not to say traditional marketing is dead, though according to Joseph Jaffe, author of “Life After the 30-Second Spot” and “Join the Conversation,” marketers must adapt to the brave new world of the Internet, social media and social networking, consumer-generated content, blogs, videocasts and podcasts by joining in the meaningful conversations that are happening online.

The point is that you can no longer rely on traditional media alone to tell your story. Marketing has to be truly integrated. And quite frankly, marketing has changed. People no longer want to be sold to by companies; they want to be connected and compelled to buy in a more personal and meaningful way.

In “Join the Conversation,” Jaffe writes that today’s consumers are active participants in the advertising process. They are no longer simply silent targets and sitting ducks for one-way communication.

The advertising industry is changing rapidly, yet so many companies seem to have their heads in the sand — especially when it comes to incorporating social media into their marketing mix. They seem to think that if they stick their head in the sand, no one will notice them.

Well, my philosophy is that if you stick your head in the sand, everyone will notice you because you’re sharing your most undesirable end.

Not sure if your customers are really online? Let me share a few statistics with you.

Facebook: More than 200 million people use Facebook. “If it were a country, it would be the fourth most-populated country in the world,” according to its chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg. Additionally, the fastest-growing demographic on Facebook is women over the age of 55. I can vouch for this statistic, especially after receiving an e-mail from my 65-year-old mother stating that she had just signed up for “Spacebook.”

Twitter: Twitter grew a massive 1,928 percent in the U.S. from June 2008 to June 2009 — reaching 21 million unique visitors monthly, according to a survey by

• GenerationY: It’s estimated that as of this year, GenY will outnumber baby boomers. More than 96 percent of GenYers have joined a social network, according to Grunwald Associates LLC.

How can you ignore that kind of audience? A lot of companies say “my business is too niche” for Facebook or other social networking sites. My response is, What do you think makes up a nation? A state? A city? It is their communities — large, small and micro. Facebook and other online communities are similar in that they are made up of just that, large, small and micro communities.

Social media is the way we communicate and connect today. In fact, one-third of adults age 30 and older now post to sites such as Facebook and Twitter at least once a week, according to a January report from Forrester Research.

And it’s not just consumers. Merlot Marketing recently conducted a national survey of media professionals’ use of social media tools and found that the most popular social media tools used professionally were Linkedin, at 53.1 percent, blogs, at 51 percent, and Twitter, at almost 47 percent.

Really, what you should be asking yourself is, who isn’t online? Everyone from CEOs and celebrities to the president of the United States of America are online. So the question is, are you?

If it’s your job to communicate and connect with your audience via marketing, why wouldn’t you use social media? If you want different results you need to start doing things differently.

I’ll look forward to seeing your brand online.

Debi Hammond is president and chief executive officer of Sacramento-based Merlot Marketing Inc. Reach her at

See the entire article at the Sacramento Business Journal online.

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1 Comment
  1. Shad Selby
    May 7, 2010

    BRAVO DEBI...BRAVO! well done.

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