It used to be if you were a small business, you were at a
distinct disadvantage with your marketing compared to the
No more. Small business owners will actually have an edge
over bigger companies thanks to the emerging marketing
Yes, you heard right. Emerging marketing model. The old
ways of marketing are dying. And a new regime is coming of
To understand how marketing is changing, it's important to
start with a bit of history. The image most of us have of
marketing is based on an old communications model, one
that was popular in, say, the 1970s. That was when we had
three broadcast networks (ABC, CBS and NBC -- no FOX
either) a public station, one newspaper and a handful of
magazines and radio stations. Trade magazines and
newsletters were few and far between, we had no Internet
and no e-mail.
Because consumers had so few choices, it was fairly easy
to market to them. Chances were pretty good they were
watching, reading or listening to one of a handful of mass
In fact, to be successful in this marketing model, all you
really needed was money.
Here's how it worked. A business created a good product.
The business hired an advertising agency. The agency
spent thousands of dollars placing ads on the three
network television stations and national magazines.
Perhaps it also bought a few spots on local radio stations
and newspapers. And if the ad budget was big enough,
success was practically guaranteed.
There was no mystery to marketing. Mostly it was a
numbers game. Spend the money and get a return.
Businesses were selling products. Mass media
businesses were selling advertising space. Advertising
agencies were buying space. Everyone was making money.
And everyone was happy.
Fast forward to 2004. Now, instead of three television
channels we have hundreds. Instead of a handful of
magazines we have dozens, including about a million trade
publications. On top of that, we have the Internet and e-mail
just begging for a piece of our time.
Never before in the history of communications have
audiences been so fragmented. Just finding your
customers has turned into that old adage of finding a
needle in a haystack. But that's not the only challenge --
even if you do locate your customers that's no guarantee
they'll listen to you.
Wherever we go, we are confronted by marketing message
after marketing message. It's been estimated that we're
bombarded with over 3,000 messages a day...and that
number keeps going up. How have we responded? By
learning to shut most of those messages out (which of
course makes it even harder for marketers to get us to act
upon their message).
But the woes of the traditional marketing model don't end
there. The Internet has also introduced a little thing called
When you market online, you can track what people are
looking at and, even more importantly, where you lost them
in selling process. For instance, you can check your Web
site stats and see which pages people entered your site
and which pages made them leave. You can track what
people clicked on in your e-mail campaign or if they clicked
With traditional or offline marketing, you only know if it
worked (a customer bought something) or didn't (a
customer didn't buy something). You don't know if they saw
the ad, read the ad or what happened.
All of this is bad news for those who have built their
business on the traditional marketing model. But, it could be
good news for you. How? Find out in part two.
Michele Pariza Wacek owns Creative Concepts and
Copywriting, a writing, marketing and creativity agency. She
offers two free e-newsletters that help subscribers combine
their creativity with hard-hitting marketing and copywriting
principles to become more successful at attracting new
clients, selling products and services and boosting
business. She can be reached at http://www.writingusa.com