Strip away all the hype, buzz, voodoo, tweets, posts, blogs, links, acronyms and important sounding jargon and the internet is a communication tool. Email is a tool. Social media is a tool. Mobile is a tool. They’re all vehicles who’s real and only purpose is to connect you and me together.
Thanks to email, Nigerian princes, loud announcers, Facebook, 50-years of “urgent” TV ads and telemarketers… it’s no longer enough to just have an incredible idea/product/service/business. Today you have to prove yourself worthy of attention BEFORE your idea even gets a glance.
Your website isn’t a company brochure that you can print once, then let the boxes gather dust in some closet. Your website is out there, whether you’re paying attention to it or not. So, how long has it been since you updated your website?
Soon the distinction between traditional and social marketing won't matter. It's all going mobile. Right now Nielsen reports that 64% of 25-34 year olds own smartphones. 53% of 18-24 year olds do too. Just try to buy a non-smartphone. As it gets harder and harder to find “simple” phones, smartphone ownership among 35+ adults will skyrocket. Today's “second” screen will be the screen that matters most tomorrow.
And what are all of these smartphone owners doing with their iPhones and Androids? Downloading apps and using them while shopping in your store.
The time to get your mobile with your business is now.
- Get your business listed on mobile networks: Ceating your profile on Google Places, Yelp and Foursquare will let you take advantage of how your customers are trying to find you online.
- Create a mobile website: Yes, there is a difference. A mobile friendly website that loads quickly and works on the smaller “second screen” will open your door to mobile customers.
- Creating a mobile app: This isn't for all small businesses, but development prices are going down and might be right for you. A mobile app lets your users interact with your business services in an environment that is dedicated to your business alone.
- Start using QR codes: Again, this isn't for all small businesses, but if your customers are QR code scanners, then you need to be QR code friendly.
- Get into mobile advertising: It's where your customers are spending their time.
- Text Messaging: 95% of all text messages are read. At some point text message marketing will become like email marketing with low click-through rates, but until then…
Forget the dog and pony shows. Scrap the RFPs (Request for Proposals). Instead, take your agency candidates to lunch. Seriously. The reality is, no matter how big or small the agency, three or four people are going to be doing the work on your account. Take them to lunch.
Pitching multiple agencies against each other in a conference room only shows who's the best showman. Sending out questionaires and RFPs doesn't do much more than waste everyone's time and kill trees. Great, smart, impactful advertising happens because there's a personal connection between you, your company, your product and your agency team.
So, take the three or four people who will be working on your account to lunch. Find out if you like them. Do they talk more than they listen? What do they know about your business? What questions do they ask? And be sure to leave the agency principal at the office (unless she's going to be working your account on a daily basis). Leave the agency “pitch team” too.
Break bread with your agency team.
At some point we're all sitting too close to our project to see that we're being confusing. Instruction manuals are perfect examples. I'm sure the technical writer thought he was being crystal clear, I mean he understood the manual perfectly. How much better (and useful) would that manual be if only he had given it to a “head-scratcher” to read over first. By letting the head-scratcher share her confusion, we'd all be better able to “insert tab A into slot B.”
Everyone needs a head-scratcher. Someone outside your culture who can point out what's not totally clear about your idea, your promotion and your project before the real confusion sets in.
Planning big is the best way, really the only way, to make great things happen consistently. Sure sometimes you get lucky and greatness falls into your lap, but it's exceedingly rare and fleeting. Big planners are the odds on favorites to have great things – great sales, great profits, great successes in 2012.
Plan big, and then write down your big plans. Now you're focused. Share your big plans with teammates, your partners and your accomplices. Now you're locked in.
Then take action. Act on your big plans today, before lunch, put your big plans into action right now. Get yourself ready to experience greatness in 2012.
After all, you've planned for it.