Social networks will fundamentally shift the way the corporate world speaks to us. In the old school / traditional approach, corporate America engaged us through a monologue. That is, they pushed “information” to us through print ads, direct mail, radio spots, and television commercials. As technology progressed (ie, the Internet), they continued their push strategies through banner ads, pop-ups, and spam email. As a result, statistics show that on average, each of us is bombarded with more than 3000 marketing messages a day.
Notice that I used the word “information.” Should print ads, direct mail, radio spots, television commercials, banner ads, pop ups, and spam email really be considered information? Do they adequately supply the consumer with the facts they need to make an informed decision about a product? I say NO. To me, they are just noise that most of us tune out. An interesting fact that supports this is that 90+% of those with DVR-type devices fast-forward through television commercials.
Traditional marketing is geared towards a passive audience. In today’s world, the consumer is more empowered and more engaged. Yes, we may have only moved away from a television set to a computer monitor, but our activities are different. For TV, we sit and channel surf. For a computer monitor, we still surf, but we also read and with social media, we interact. Websites provide content – true information about products, services, events, etc. While many of these sites and much of this content still contain marketing ‘spin,’ we, as consumers of this information have more data points and are allowed to decide for ourselves what is valuable.
Let me provide you with some statistics to support the statement that “We have all grown to distrust advertising.” A recent survey shows that only 14% trust advertisements. Yet 78% of us trust the recommendations of other customers. Let that sink in for a moment. Now think about this: only 18% of TV ad campaigns have a positive ROI.
The dynamics of the market place of radically shifted and you need to pay attention. As consumers, we now have great control about the quality of information we receive. And if you think about this from a generational standpoint, it is more profound that I previously thought. For my whole life, the generation with the greatest influence has been the Baby Boomers. But that is about to change:
- By 2010, Millenials / Gen Y will out number Baby Boomers
- This group already wields $350 B / year in direct spending power
- Spend more than 16 hours / week online
- 96% of joined a social network
- On average, they have 53 online friends
- They don’t care about your ad; they care what their friends think
Furthermore, for today’s active online users:
- 73% have read a blog
- 45% of started their own blog
- 39% subscribe to RSS feeds
- 57% have joined a social network
- 55% have uploaded photos
- 83% have watched video clips
The dynamics of the market place of radically shifted and you need to pay attention. The Internet, social media, and other technologies are in the DNA the Millenials / Gen Y and their purchasing power and influence will only continue to grow.