What I’m about to say is not based on anything particularly new. It’s actually a mindset and behavior that’s killed off many good businesses. If you’re in the field of digital marketing, there’s a good chance you run into this toxic mindset regularly. It’s not my job to change it, only to bring it up so that we can find better solutions.
Even though it’s not my job to convince toxic thinkers that they’re missing opportunities, I still suffer from disappointment. Seeing good ideas and good products not reaching those consumers that can benefit from them will always disturb me.
I was recently doing an all-day workshop at a large digital marketing event. I’m the type of trainer who enjoys hearing about the real world issues from students because I know that if one person is speaking up about their issues, then at least 10 more probably have the same problem.
A guy named Justin, who wears many hats including ‘marketing manager’ at the car dealership he works at, asked, “I’ve proven the value of it, but my boss doesn’t believe we need to do social media and content marketing. He’s says we’re successful enough. What do I even say to that?”
A few heads bobbed up and down in the room.
Now, if you’ve been in this digital marketing space for a few years, the boss’ mentality probably seems nonsensical. You may even say, “Too bad, so sad for him” and move onto the next thing that commands your attention.
But Justin has a real problem. He’s witnessed consumers’ appetite for trustworthy information and he sees the change in how they consume it. He’s seen leads and sales come from social and content marketing; he knows things are changing rapidly.
Justin just wants to do a good job and there’s a toxic mindset keeping him from creating more revenue for his company:
“We’re successful, so we don’t need to change.”
Understanding customers’ needs and wants, and connecting with them on a deeper level through content and social media, is paramount to your business’ success. Not feeling like you need to adapt to these changes is the most dangerous place to be.
In this same workshop, I had the students map out what makes their company unique; what does the company do that differentiates it from competitors? First you have to define what makes you different. Then you have to communicate that unique value in profound ways with your digital and offline marketing.
- One of the students mentioned, “We’re a family-owned business for 50 years.” What a great accomplishment! However, there are many other companies who can claim a similar feat and very few can show exactly what that equates to.
- Stories about your heritage and why people keep buying from you is something your competitor probably hasn’t even thought of…and there’s your differentiation.
- Another student said, “We offer a 125 point inspection.” That’s great. You told me you have that and everyone else has something similar. How can you differentiate yourself? Create content, post it on social media and promote it:
- What are the 125 points you check?
- How do you do that inspection? Create a 5-10 minute video of how you perform that inspection.
- You could even create 125 videos about each point. Who has done that? Answer: nobody I know…yet.
Interesting content is time well spent.
There’s an assumption that customers are busy and won’t take the time to check out informational videos and other content. That’s just not true. Never underestimate what the consumer will do when you’ve developed trust with them and they are interested.
We’re at a point now where it’s crucial to get inside the head and heart of your target customers. You may think you know what they want but do you really know?
Are you producing the kind of content worthy of them hanging around a little longer?
Are you measuring?
What I’ve found is that those who say, “Social Media is a waste of time.” (or something to that effect) are not now nor have they ever set goals for their social/inbound marketing and then measured the results. It’s easy to say it’s a waste of time, especially to ‘prove’ to yourself that measuring is worthless. If you’re the boss, and you’re suffering from a toxic mindset, you’ve just taken a really important component of today’s sales process and tossed it out the window.
Expressing disdain for social media is like bragging that you can’t read.
It’s hard to believe it but I wrote an article 3 years ago entitled, “5 Ways to Tell if You’re Suffering from Social Media Denial.” A lot has changed since then…and a lot hasn’t. There’s still a toxic mindset permeating throughout the halls of businesses today.
- Social Media is no longer in a “silo” as a marketing and customer relations tool.
- Social ads, especially Facebook ads, are killin’ it when it comes to driving target customers to take action.
- Social, content and SEO are the magic combo to attract, engage and sell to the modern, hyper-connected buyer.
- Much to the dismay of the “spray and pray” advocates, consumers continue to be skeptical about display ads.
- Display ads are perceived as intruders. 61% of users say don’t want to be interrupted or distracted. Advertisers apparently also need to work on targeting – 58% of users claim that the banners they see aren’t relevant to them. (Source: Bannersnack)
What hasn’t changed?
- Many, many businesses are still on the fence with social, digital and content marketing (and how it relates to SEO).
- Lots of ad budgets are still being spent on banner ads, while 54% of consumers don’t trust the ads they see and are concerned about privacy and security (57% of users are afraid of receiving spam from advertisers or of getting a virus).
- The toxic mindset: “We’re successful, so we don’t need to change.”
What are you willing to do today to remain successful in the future?
When Justin shared his boss’ toxic mindset rejecting the need to change, I proposed a question for him to ponder:
Will the new car dealership model exist in the next 5-10 years?
After all, there is huge pressure on many fronts that could make auto dealerships irrelevant and obsolete:
- Tesla’s ‘testing’ of the US Franchise laws
- Consumers want to buy cars online
- Uber and Lyft becoming the better financial solution in some metro areas
- Vehicle sharing
- Environmental factors
- Changing social behaviors
- People just don’t like going to car dealerships
No matter what industry you’re in or your current business model, a toxic mindset will create a false sense of security and it’s a very dangerous place to allow yourself to be. New threats and pressures will continue to appear.
Success today does not mean success tomorrow.
Innovation, expertise and raving fans are what constitute future success (ie: 2016). Social and content marketing help you get there.
If you hear yourself or anyone around you exclaim, “We’re successful, so we don’t need to change.” remember, there’s a stream of bodies left in the wake of today’s informed, connected customers. I just don’t want you to be one of them.