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Many organizations are understanding that to stand out in an otherwise very noisy Digital Marketing environment – to simply be relevant, that they must discover new ways to “listen” to their customers.

There’s no longer a choice.

This is a very exciting time. We now have the ability to really hear our customers.

By using listening tools we uncover what customers are really looking for and smart organizations will use what they hear (and learn) to become truly customer-centric. This is the real promise of Digital Marketing – a focus on customers.

To Be Relevant in This New environment Marketing Organizations Need to Change The Way They Produce Content.

Every organization must become a content producer today and create a “newsroom”, this has become an imperative. There is simply no choice but to become a media producer now and express your uniqueness through the production of relevant, informative, compelling and entertaining content, because that’s what customers are looking for.

Your customers have been empowered by the Internet and because of the power of sophisticated search consumers today use the Web to discover and engage with companies, products and services. This is true of both Business to Consumer (B2C) and Business to Business (B2B) organizations. This means that marketers must develop new methods to reach consumers. This new method is variously called Internet Marketing, Digital Marketing, Inbound Marketing – call it what you like.

Today’s marketing is about building interactive relationships with potential and existing customers that engages them. This is an internet marketing strategy that helps you acquire new leads, nurtures prospects through their decision-making process, and retains them as customers because you’ve become a trusted indispensable source of knowledge and information. You educate them and in turn they give you their business. And in doing so, you build a wider audience as you become a trusted thought leader in your market space.

This requires that an organization put technology at the core of your effort and listen and respond in “real-time”. This is the only way an organization can create the content that needs to be created and that requires an innovative approach to Digital Marketing.

New (and many free) cloud-based tools make listening to customers easy and available to anyone. You must listen not only to direct customer feedback but to what is being said about your brand, your company, your industry, your competitors and to what customers are looking for in the marketplace of goods, services and ideas.

A smart organization will create a culture of listening that informs and animates not only what the organization says but it will create an organizational culture that puts the customer at the center of everything that it does. An organization that doesn’t risks becoming irrelevant quickly. As a matter of fact, on June 8, 2015, Business Insiderreported on a talk given by Cisco’s retiring CEO John Chambers at Cisco’s giant customer conference. In the speech Chambers predicted that “40% of companies would be dead in 10 years”. Why? According to the article “The only ones that will survive will turn their companies into digital, techie versions of themselves, and many will fail trying”.

Establishing Thought Leadership is The Primary Job of Marketing In The 21st Century

In order to produce relevant content an organization needs to listen (and understand) what’s being said in the digital sphere and respond by creating relevant contact that establishes your organization as a thought leader in your space.

This is the primary job of marketing in the 21st Century – to establish thought leadership by listening to the marketplace and finely tuning your content creation to meet customer expectations and to earn the credibility to be taken seriously by speaking to the issues that affect you and your customers.

It’s Not About You or Your Product – It’s Not About Jingles or Sloganeering – It’s ALL About Your Customer

But remember, it’s not about “you”, it’s about the customer. The customer is ignoring gratuitous product selling, they want to be educated and informed (and entertained) and are looking for the most credible sources to listen to.

The modern marketing newsroom is meant to create content based on an understanding of what your customers are passionate about and you can only accomplish this if you are effectively listening to what customers want.

Your “newsroom” should involve many people throughout the organization – the silos between corporate communications, marketing, sales, product development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Social Media Marketing (SMM) must be broken down. There are many people in every organization who have great ideas and, more importantly, great stories to tell. Involve them. Ask many people from across the various departments and disciplines of your organization to create content that gets posted on your blog and your social media sites. By creating a “style guide” and requiring that the content conform to it an organization’s standards a high volumes of content can be created relatively easily.

Organizations must rethink how they are communicating ideas  by building a culture of listening and learning and content creation built upon it. When you empower great employees and use the great technology that’s available to you, you open your organization to entirely new opportunities.

As John Chambers put it “We had to tie together our silos, we had to change our culture, we had to lead by example”.

By Maurice Bretzfield, Certified Business Mentor at SCORE NYC

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Maurice Bretzfield is a SCORE NYC Certified Business Mentor with over twenty years of Digital Marketing experience.

Learn more about Maurice at his Website at www.mauricebretzfield.com or view his LinkedIn profile atwww.linkedin.com/in/bretzfield.

About the Author(s)

 SCORE NYC

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