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Facebook marketing? ‘Customer first’ still rules

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In today’s digital age, one can be easily led to believe that all a business needed to set the cash registers ringing is a website, Facebook fan page, regular status updates and maybe a daily tweet.

Not surprisingly, this isn’t the magic formula for success. Sooner you realize it the better. However, they do represent a few of the new marketing channels that businesses and brands can now use to connect with customers.

The founding principles of marketing – centred on having a customer orientation and creating customer value – remain fundamental to a business’ success. It’s just that the channels that we can use to promote value have changed and multiplied, many times over.

Enable the chatter, don’t disrupt it

Just as you should have a regular medical check-up, your business requires a regular check-up to see how well it is using emerging digital technology and channels to market and connect with customers.

There can be no doubt that businesses and brands need to engage with their customers online and, more specifically, use social media channels to do so. However, many have failed. This has mainly been caused by an inability to recognise that marketing activities need to be customer-centric, not company centric. Customers don’t like to be talked to. They want to be part of the conversation. Why, even leading it sometimes.

Interestingly, the 2012 Yellow Social Media Report found that only 22% of the Australians use social media to follow their favourite brands. The report also highlighted the top reasons Australians use social media. These include, catching up with friends and family, to share photos or videos, and to coordinate social events.

We as marketers and business owners need to accept and respect how people view and value their social media interactions. A large majority (78%) isn’t interested in using Facebook and YouTube to find out about businesses and brands! We need to operate in that framework and leverage small windows of time and attention to push our brands.

The future of digital media and marketing will see an increasingly sophisticated range of channels and applications at the disposal of the marketer. Technology has only just begun altering the way people live their lives and businesses operate. We’re not at the end of anything, not even in the middle. We’re still just at the beginning.

Businesses and brands that have a customer orientation geared towards creating value will experience success beyond today’s digital age.

Duncan Matthews is the founder of Marketing Advisers, which helps businesses enhance and improve their digital media and marketing activities.

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