The Art of Marketing came to Calgary June 14th, 2010, for a full day of special guests who shared very similar messages. In fact, the marketing visionaries and bestselling authors should NOT have shared ground-breaking concepts for the marketing attendees because what they were sharing should be evident. The ‘advent’ of social media, and the wealth of interaction companies can achieve with their customers IS upon us NOW. Does that include you? Are you there when people are looking?

The age of using new ‘non-traditional’ forms of marketing is here to stay, it’s growing fast, and it’s quickly supplanting traditional media tactics/sources despite its relative infancy.

Of course I’m talking about the web. Youtube recently surpassed ALL major US networks for viewership, this is insane! Youtube is 5 years old, it hasn’t even EMERGED yet. Think about it, when cell phones are in the hands of everyone, and data becomes cheaper, Youtube becomes the forefront of video media, not TV.

Are you paying attention?

Do you still get the newspaper? The iPad (and obviously your computer’s feed readers) have made papers obsolete. Their information isn’t, but the paper itself is quickly going the way of the typewriter.

Is your business participating in new media?

Note what I just mentioned–participate.

Why is this so crucial?

Social media has arrived in LARGE fashion. Facebook now pulls in more daily traffic than GOOGLE! The sheer volume of people is astounding for something that’s only a few years old.

But, just because there’s volume doesn’t mean marketers can get away with the blast of information in hopes that something sticks.

There are two aspects to pay very close attention to that will help develop your future plans.

Social media and the online world give you unprecedented access to your target market. Never before could you collect the mounds of market data about your customers without asking (check your web stats). Never before have we been able to approach potential customers who are so keen to participate with your product/service. Access has never been easier and has never been bigger.

Social media also provides an amazing opportunity to create your own unique tribe. Apple has a fraction of the PC market, however, when they launch their products, no matter how mundane, they sell out and make millions. Why? Because they’ve fine-tuned a following based on a relationship. Apple spent time investing in their customers, and gave them a chance to become evangelists.

Evangelists feel a connection to your product and will go to great lenghts to promote and of course buy your stuff.

To get to that point you have to be ready to interact and invest time to develop your network. That means real face to face time in your target markets. That means becoming a contributor rather than a salesperson. That means courting clients through marketing rather than ramming product after product through radio, TV, print, etc.

Doesn’t this sound appealing? A group of loyal followers that surround and in fact develop the trust and popularity of your brand?

What’s this going to take? Quite frankly time. Resources need to move from traditional sources (but don’t throw them away all together) to develop a concise plan to become a contributor in your networks (target markets).

Do your customers find you when they want your product (Mitch Joel)? If not, then you are not positioned to survive in the new market climate.

Ask the question: are you there?

If not, you can’t wait another moment. Start contributing, and if you can’t, then create one.

P.S. A nice clip from Gary, one of the highlight speakers of the day.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rxA_D58qzY]