A purpose for every platform
Marketers have never had more options, means, or methods of communicating with customers and prospects than they do now. They are empowered to create all types of content in every format imaginable, and they can do it on their own, without the help of advertisers and traditional advertising. If advertising is out, what is the most effective way to reach customers and create more sales opportunities?
To find the answer, marketers must identify their target audience, glean its information needs, and discover how it likes to consume information. Often times, the answers can be found via existing research, surveys of current customers, or even anecdotal evidence. Understanding a target audience's unmet information needs will determine what type of content marketers should create and which platforms are best for delivery.
Nielsen's just-released study, "What Americans Do Online," is an excellent guide to how consumers get information and content. Not surprisingly, social media now has the largest share -- 23 percent -- of overall time spent online, up 43 percent from a year ago. Online games have a 10 percent share of time, up 10 percent from last year. Which platforms lost share? Email is down 28 percent to an 8 percent share. Also losing share are portals, down 19 percent, and instant messaging, down 15 percent. These decreases highlight the fact that Facebook's built-in email and IM functions have taken market share away from traditional email and messaging platforms.
That said, the above trends don't mean it's time to declare email dead and put all our eggs into a social media basket. Rather, it's all about knowing the strengths of each platform. So, back to our original question: What is the most effective way to reach customers and create more sales opportunities? By building a comprehensive media channel using multiple platforms and matching the content to the strengths and unique benefits of each platform.
In this article, we'll look at the strengths and weaknesses of five popular marketing media.