Seth Godin posted recently about three changes in Marketing.
- Advertising and marketing are no longer the same thing.
- The most valuable forms of marketing are consumed voluntarily.
- The network effect is the most powerful force in the world of ideas.
Let’s view these from the lense of a hyperlocal digital publisher:
- Advertising and marketing are no longer the same thing – Frankly, they’ve never been the same thing, but the Internet has made this more obvious. There are two main types of marketing – one is to acquire new customers and the other is to engage/upsell existing customers. Advertising is most effective in the acquisition of new customers. But those folks that rely primarily on advertising for their marketing efforts are missing out on the most lucrative aspect of marketing – engaging your existing customers. Whether it’s word of mouth marketing, a loyalty program or an online video, there are many ways to engage your customers and build an audience online.
- The most valuable forms of marketing are consumed voluntarily – advertising is not a voluntary activity. People do not proactively go look for ads. Ads come to them. Usually while they are busy doing something else. That doesn’t mean they aren’t effective – after all, online advertising alone will be a $50B market in 2015! However, the “hit rate” of ads is at an all time low, and it continues to drop. There are so many ways people can consume information today, it’s very hard to get their attention. That is why intent-based marketing is so powerful. If you can understand a user’s intent and provide them the information they are looking for to meet that intent, the hit rate is significantly higher. In other words, give users what they want, when they want it.
- The network effect is the most powerful force in the world of ideas – don’t confuse this with “going viral”. Something doesn’t need to go viral to be effective, it simply needs to reach your network. The network effect in a local community is intimate and (relatively speaking) small. The members of this network are relatively easy to reach and the relationship extends beyond just online to actual personal relationships. A video (for example) can be timeless and have a network effect that can last days, weeks or even months. A local story will likely be news for a day or two and then lose its effectiveness. It’s important to mix in different type of content that can impact your network effect so you can leverage it regularly.
In summary, the best marketing for hyperlocal strategy is to give the people what they want! Make your content engaging, something that people want to consume voluntarily, and that they can share with others in your network. This occurs when you give your readers the opportunity to be part of the conversation, and when you can answer the questions that they are asking.