I've been involved with online marketing since 1998 and have seen a lot of change in that time. Online has gone from a niche channel dominated by the affluent and geeky to now being the most consumed media platform. In fact, since 2002 the number of interent users has quadrupled and I firmly believe we have finally reached the proverbial "tipping point". The web is becoming as ubiquitous as electricity.
For the majority of my career I feel like most of my energy has been spent on educating and trying to convince customers of the importance of the web as a tool for communication and productivity. But change is difficult and it's compounded when that change is not easily understood. Print, radio, telephone, and TV were easy channels for people to comprehend and use. However, the web with it's terms like ISP, Domain, HTML, JQuery, and the like are not things most people want to learn or have time to. For companies shifting their marketing to the web it can be an intimidating experience. It's full of unknowns.
The web is an incredibly complex channel that requires a sophisticated level of technical expertise to utilize effectively, but it's where most of the public is spending their time. It's not optional to have a presence; It's required. And your presence cannot be amateur. People will judge the credibility of your organization within four seconds of being on your homepage. Think of it this way, if you get on an airplane and the cabin is dirty you're going to have serious doubts about how well the engines are maintained. Many people are judging your organization based solely on your web presence.
Even if the web is not the primary channel for engaging your audience it needs to be part of it. When you buy a new house you are usually planning for the future and your marketing strategy should be no different. You definitely need to meet the needs of your current market but what will those needs be in a year or two? If you don't start thinking about it now then you'll be playing catch-up. Leaders don't play catch-up; they break new ground. Market share is usually dominated by two or three players in any particular industry. The leaders get most of the business while the remaining companies are left fighting for scraps. You don't want to fight for scraps; it's exhausting and the returns are barely worth it.
It is my genuine intention to simply relay a call to arms. I'm but a messenger. Your customers are the source of any market strategy and right now they're telling you that if you're not rolling with them online you'll be rolled over. It's your choice, but don't spend too much time thinking about it. The time is now.
If you have an opinion regarding this post I encourage you to leave a comment below. Want to learn more about integrating the web into your own marketing strategy? Drop me a line by visiting my contact page or call me at 306 229 9437. Thanks for reading.