The marketing paradigm is shifting with much greater “power to the people” facilitated by social media.  If you want to continue to reach your market, it’s not about advertising any more, but about building relationships.

Consider the following differences:

Advertising Building Relationships
  1. Telling
  2. Starts with “me” (the brand, the product, the service)
  3. Focuses on “what can you give me?
  4. Goal:  instant impact
  5. Where’s the money?
  1. Listening, hearing, empathizing, asking,
  2. Starts with “you” (the customer’s needs, wants, interests and expectations)
  3. Focuses on “how can I serve you?
  4. Goal: ongoing engagement
  5. Who are the people?

1. Telling vs. Listening

It may sound counterintuitive, but if you truly want to be heard above the growing social media “noise,” you need to listen.  Listen to what your consumers and potential consumers are saying before you even put one word out there:  What are they saying, what are they feeling, what are their pain points, what solutions do they need?   Then when you do “speak” (type), empathize with them and ask them questions.

2. Me vs. You

Adding on to #1 above, when you begin an interaction online with your consumers, do you come from a “ME” perspective and speak first about your brand / product / service, or do you come from a “YOU” perspective and first address what matters most to your consumer (their needs, wants, interests and expectations)?   Whatever matters most to your consumer should become what matters most to you!

3. “What can you give me?” vs. “How can I serve you?

Taking the “ME” mentality one step further, when we are advertising instead of building relationships, we are focused on what our consumers can give us instead of how we can best serve them.

Your consumers will recognize in a heartbeat if you are simply out to get something from them.  It’s not that you aren’t allowed to want anything from your consumers, it’s that there must be a give to go along with every take.   If you truly want to make an impact, aim to always put more energy and attention in your “give” column than in your “take” column.  It will pay off.

4. Instant Impact vs. Ongoing Engagement

Traditional advertising is going for instant impact and hoping and praying you make an impression:  splashy billboards, off-the-wall Super Bowl television ads, eye-catching graphics, even shock factor (images of gore, poverty, nudity, animal cruelty, etc.).  While those methods are effective in catching a consumer’s attention, they fall short of retaining that attention.

Building relationships, in contrast, is about starting meaningful dialogue (see #1-3 above) and taking the time to thoughtfully and genuinely engage in ongoing conversation.  Relationships focus on getting to know your consumer and giving them reasons to stay engaged — not just getting them to react.

5. Where is the Money? vs. Who are the People?

Short and simple:  if you are only focused on the money, you risk completely overlooking the people.  Don’t make that mistake!  If you don’t know who your people are, you might as well toss your marketing money down the drain.

It’s time to re-focus ROI (Return on Investment) to ROR (Return on Relationship): let your brand be bold and innovative enough to demote “advertising” and promote “building relationships”!

Originally posted at SheSpeaks

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