I realize that you came to hear about how to market your business in the changing world of media. But I’d like to start off with a quick history on the evolution of commerce. Now, first of all, my definition of commerce is probably a bit different than say, Warren Buffet’s, who probably thinks it’s just about money. I like to think that commerce is all about connections and conversations.
- Gradually, we evolved to something a bit more sophisticated. - The introduction of currency changed the world of commerce, giving everything a value.
But here’s where all the real action is taking place. The fourth era – online & social commerce. Look how much things have changed from the time cable TV launched in 1952 until now... it’s astounding! This is our lifetime... And it was really in 1990 when things began to skyrocket with the introduction of the Internet to the general public. Just like the telephone enabled us to connect in a new way a few generations earlier, the Internet has not only changed the way we communicate, it’s also changed the way we do business. And as a result, we’ve had to rethink the way we market our businesses.
They go beyond what customers expect when it comes to building relationships. For example, on Zipcar’s very active Facebook page, they encourage members (or Zipsters) to send in stories and pictures of activities they’ve done while they’ve been out in their Zipcar. One couple posted a picture of their baby that was born after they drove their Zipcar to the hospital. Another posted a picture of the Zipcar they took on their camping trip. Yet another Zipster posted a picture of a balloon-filled Zipcar on its way to a surprise birthday party!Zipcar is also very active on Twitter… actually, let me correct that… they’re very PROACTIVE. What I mean by that, is not only are they responsive to anyone who approaches them directly, they also track comments from other Tweeters about Zipcar and its service. If they find out that someone wasn’t happy, they respond and take action. Can you imagine that? Where in the real world could you ever complain to a friend about a company’s service and have that company then call you up and fix the problem? THAT’S the true power of social media… and that’s what Zipcar understands and is getting right.
The thing about this new era is that there’s a lot more media “noise” than there’s ever been before... What I mean by that is that, when you’re trying to get your message out there, you’re also having to compete with thousands of messages in a multitude of media. Because the fact is, today’s consumers have turned into media multi-taskers. They’re watching TV while their surfing the net on their laptops. And they’re probably talking on their cell phones at same time! This is what you have to compete with. This is the changing world of media. So right now, I want to give you four tips that will help you break through that clutter.
People are going to take the time to read your message if it’s relevant to them or their situation. That stay-at-home mom will pay closer attention if you tell her how your product or service can help her save time. Build your key messages around your prospects’ biggest needs or wants.
Which brings me back to what I promised earlier... I want to show you a couple of examples of small businesses that I feel are doing a good job of building a strong web presence, and I think that these are two companies that have successfully made themselves heard above all the media noise because they understand their audience, and because they understand the media channels they’re working with.
This is a website for bow wow haus, a dog boutique and daycare based in Vancouver. Now, I want to show you why this is more than just a website, how it enables bow wow haus to connect with their customers. First of all, they have an Events link (which they keep up to date). This is going to keep customers coming back to the site to see what fun activities the company is going to be holding next. And as it turns out, we missed the Small Doggie Mingle, but we can still catch the Howl-o-Ween Costume Paw-ty on the 29th! -The other thing that’s going to keep visitors coming back is the blog. When you constantly have fresh content on your site, people will keep coming back on a regular basis – which can also mean more opportunities to buy products or services from your site. But if they come back to your site and it’s always the same old thing, they’re likely to go looking for something more interesting.- Down here in the lower left hand corner, they open the door to engagement, asking for an e-mail address so they can send out an e-newsletter. When you get to the blog page, you’ll also find links to their Facebook and Twitter pages. This is how they maintain their relationships with their customers and it’s possible they’ve built new relationships virally, as well.
Now these guys are REALLY ahead of the curve... This is the ethical bean coffee company, also from Vancouver. [NOTE: we didn’t want to use Toronto examples in case those business owners happened to be in the audience. We thought it would be kind of weird... and felt the Vancouver examples would be different and far enough removed.] So they’re also on Twitter... And if you go to their contact page, they also offer an e-newsletter that you can sign up for. But look at this! They have an iPhone app that you can download that uses a technology on their packaging called QR coding. Certain Smartphones have apps that can scan these QR codes – sometimes these codes just have a simple text message, other times they send you to a website... - In the case of the ethical bean app, it tells you more about the product. What type of roast it is, taste ratings, there’s even a roast chart for the people who get downright analytical about their coffee!- Now, this is part of a bigger wave that’s coming... a more profoundwave, or should I say Tsunami, that will completely transform commerce as we know it.
- These are exciting times... And I’m excited for you, as business owners, because you’re the ones who are going to really benefit from all of these innovations. And you already have a lot of the tools you need... You know how to create long-lasting relationships with customers – all you need to do is transfer that skill to the online world. That’s really what this fourth era of commerce is all about – connecting... Creating conversations... Building relationships. What’s great is that you have the advantage over all those big corporations who’ve been so far removed from consumers all these years. So really, if you think about it, this isn’t just the fourth era of commerce. This is YOUR era. Thank you.
Small Business Forum Presentation, Catherine Caplice
How to market your business in the changing world of media.<br />Catherine Caplice<br />Vice President, Marketing<br />
Commerce is about <br />Connections and Conversations.<br />
The rules have changed.<br />Information is FREE and ACCESSIBLE<br />Information was LIMITED<br />YOUR BUYER finds, creates and decides what THEY want to share<br />YOU managed what YOU wanted to share<br />The New Rule: Become part of the conversation.<br />
3 simple ways to connect, converse and get found.<br />
1. Know your Customers.<br />Who are they?<br />How do they find you?<br />Where do they find information about you?<br />
TIP:<br />ASK your current Customers where they heard about you?<br /> Why they shop with you?<br />ASK for feedback on your products and services!<br />
2. Create a message that connects.<br /><ul><li>What’s most important to them and their situation?
Build your messages around their biggest needs or aspirations</li></li></ul><li>TIP:<br />OBSERVE what your current Customers buy today and when they buy<br />Free service consultations or product samples are great incentives for new Customers to try you out!<br />
3. Be easy to find.<br /><ul><li>If your customers are on the go, you need to follow…</li></li></ul><li>TIP:<br />BE ONLINE and be SOCIAL with your business<br />Facebook<br />Twitter<br />LinkedIn<br />ALL feedback can be used to your advantage<br />Share positive comments with others<br />Recognize constructive feedback and resolve issues right away!<br />
Don’t be afraid of being social.<br />It’s just the NEW word of mouth.<br />www.facebook.com<br />www.twitter.com<br />www.linkedin.com<br />