How the online and social media explosion is reshaping business and marketing


by Paul Sheals.

I was recently watching a great video about Linear Thinking and how this has shaped business for years but has been blown apart by the Digital and Social Media explosion.  It started to make me think of a glacier for some reason and how the ice age shaped or landscape and left us with hills and valleys and swept everything in its path including the most stubborn and previously thought immovable objects.  I think a lot of traditional business and indeed business men have and are struggling to grasp the true impact the Social Media revolution is having and will continue to have on their business and the wider community and client base around them.

I worked with and watched some very big and experienced companies either ignore what is happening hoping it is just a fad and then once they realised this is here to stay fumble from one random idea to another without any clear strategy or joined up thinking. I some times wonder if it is the enormity of the change that has to take place, arrogance, the language used in this new world or just a complete lack of understanding.

I think small business owners are often quicker to react but are sometimes like Magpies (birds that collect anything shinny for their nest – for overseas readers!) constantly being attracted by something shinny and new.  Given the issues in the economy today many small business owner seem to be looking for the killer application, or quick fix and often abandon perfectly good strategies and marketing principles in search of the silver bullet.

If we look at historic business thinking and marketing strategy we would create or buy in a product, work out how to manage it, service the clients and deal with any dissatisfaction and then advertise the hell out of it with the guy that had the deepest pockets often coming out on top.

You would identify the best demographic profile usually with the old antiquated A1, B2, C1 type classification and then identify where the most eyeball’s from those demographics would be.  Order of preference would be Television, National Newspaper Advertising, Radio, Local Newspaper Advertising and so on.  If you were a really serious player you could spread your message across all these platforms and throw in some PR for good measure.

The big thing was you controlled the message and a select few controlled the delivery platforms – easy (if you had money of course).

The idea that You Tube for example has more videos (or watchable media) uploaded every 60 days than the three major US networks produced in 60 years!! is absolutely mind blowing to many business owners.  The fact that we, people like me produce content, video images etc that people watch, read and enjoy from a massive variety of sources and from all over the World frightens many business owners.

If you had big pockets you could hire a top respected celebrity to endorse your product via the Television and we would all sit there and take it in.  We now take our recommendations from Stan or Doreen or Juan real people who very often we do not know or have never met but have used your product or service and reviewed it Online.

This is also open to abuse with companies offering up false positive reviews for their own products and false negative reviews for their competitors and so we have to learn to monitor and react quickly to both praise and criticism.

The fact that a young 21 year old single mother struggling to find work could build a multi million pound empire from her bedroom via YouTube by showing people how to put various types of make up on their face demonstrates the power of what is available if you accept and harness it.

The fact that I can write, design and publish a book all from my office without the aid of a safety net or indeed a publishing house and sell them online is a complete new way of thinking and interacting with a potential audience.

That fact that you can communicate directly with thousands of your customers and or potential customers instantly at little or no cost – promoting offers, conveying good news, dealing with bad news means you need to reshape your thinking when it comes to marketing – deep pockets doesn’t necessarily win the day now.

The Social Media Glacier is moving it is picking up pace and it is reshaping all in it’s path and for any company who thinks they can ignore it or hold it back you should think again and think again fast.  It is a brave and wonderful new world filled with incredible opportunities if you are prepared to embrace it and jump in!


Paul Sheals

The complete online marketing course

© Copyright Paul Sheals 2012. All rights reserved.

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