Did Digital & Social Media kill the economy? [OPINION]

While the internet is full of success stories for Digital & Social Media, and we all know I have covered a few, like Facebook Success Stories (Social Media), Google Places for Your Service Industry (SEO), New Google Newsletter and Mobile Adwords Features (SEM) etc. However, I was recently left wondering about the bigger picture…

Did we fail to learn in web 1.0?

Websites were all anyone could talk about in the late 90’s and everyone was trying to get on the web. The issue with web 1.0? Business owners created a website just to have a website, which resulted in a business move that in most cases was a poor investment. The websites had no business plan, no systematic function and in some cases reflected poorly on a business rather than positively. The complete lack of strategy wasted time and money which also left the business owners in disbelief about the value of such a venture.

Less than a decade later here comes the Social Media Revolution, with the promise of opportunities to reach and touch people on a global scale at rates, that overnight, make TV and Print look like the dinosaurs. In 2008 the Social Media rush is on and you can’t help but get a sense that web 2.0 looks a lot like web 1.0. Social Media sites are flooded with businesses that again have no business plan, no systematic function and in some cases reflected poorly on brand. Overnight Social Media Marketing becomes a keyword that tens of thousands flock to. This brand new communication tool in the digital space is barely in industry use and gurus and experts pop up everywhere and overnight the guy next store has started an agency.

When the iPhone was launched in 2007 and forever changed the music industry, mobile for business doesn’t pick up steam till 2010, when it starts to become a part of mainstream marketing. With the announcement in early 2011 that Smartphones have surpassed PC sales the industry prepares for the next technology rush. In that same year reports indicate that Mobile Advertising is Expected to Reach 5B in 2015. This brand new communication tool in the digital space is now front and center and the young child of social media tries to pivot and tie mobile and social together, not an easy lesson as Social Media giant Facebook is learning in 2012. A prediction everyone sees coming but Facebook and the greedy analysts, and a point I tried to make days before the IPO in my aritlce “Why the Facebook IPO looks like a Bad Investment. Just like websites and social media, the industry rushes to mobile, creating apps, mobile sites and forever changing their advertising all without any thought to a strategy or branding.

Was there a bigger problem?

  • For the first time anyone who wanted to launch a website could.
  • The masses can be reached through Social Media sites that are free.
  • Everyone has a mobile device envisioned as if we all lived in the era of Star Trek .

What is it about the “basement business effect” that caused irrefutable damage to the digital economy?

The basement business effect

With the entry level barriers of owning and operating a business practically vanishing overnight and with the pool of talented employees vanishing, the best corporations are left competing against the best talent, who despite the lack of traditional resources can do the same job for a fraction of the cost and in some cases better!

Here enters our problem, the entry barrier is so low that anyone can show up at your door with a fancy website, flashy business cards, a MBA from the internet and the promise of gold. Fool’s gold that is. The market tumbles overnight because the shift happened so fast no analyst can predict the effect the American ego has on the pretty bubbles floating in front of them.

It’s not just digital, but it’s hard to argue that digital hasn’t played a crucial role in the economies demise. Banks offer checking accounts for free, the technology and promise of low overhead and the thought that you don’t need a traditional infrastructure make it seem possible. The overflow of students in education that already had swelled the ranks were overtaken by the fact that you don’t ever have to come to school to earn the same degree as the people before you did.

As if the degree from Walden, Phoenix, Capella or any other distance program could even compare to the brick and mortar programs. Can you truly believe that the distance learner has any of the abilities that a traditional student was forced to learn through socialization and real life interactions? I have done them both and I don’t think so…

Digital and FREE

FREE, its killing our economy and the digital revolution is what caused it. The best technology still requires two things:

  1. Education (Invest to Expect)
  2. People (Humanity)

While the industry would have you believe that there is an automated solution for everything, there is not and the truth is humanity can’t stand automation. Take IVR, the phone system that would replace a call center employee, for example.  The research shows that people can’t stand it and those that offer a “real” human interaction have seen their sales climb! However, this will not stop someone from selling it and some unaware business from buying it.

FREE is the biggest thing plaguing business and the economy. Despite the common phrase “you get what you pay for”, business owners continue to pursue FREE at their own demise. The pursuit of FREE, whether by the seller or the consumer, leads to complete chaos and is quickly ruining our economy.

Make a decision, it doesn’t matter whether you’re buying or selling. Invest in what will work and you’ll get the ROI your looking for.

If you’re a consultant selling digital services, STOP doing FREE consulting or proposals. The second you start to look over a company’s assets, be it the business model, the website or the social media site, you are WORKING! Do you want to work for FREE? How do you see that in the long run?  This is why you are running around working 80 hours a week and only getting paid for 10!

If you’re the business owner stop taking or looking for FREE! When you get something for free you don’t respect it, and if you don’t respect it, it’s useless. Second, you’re not that smart. When you assume you can listen to someone explaining a business or marketing strategy and then you just go do it yourself, you are, quite literally, entering into idiotic behavior. Now you’ll spend time doing a job that you don’t quite understand, are not equipped to supervise, and might never have the skill set to correct or evolve as needed. Worse, you are spending time working on something that won’t provide the promised ROI (based upon the professional’s history), and you will end up spending more than necessary, and possibly stunting your businesses growth!

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Traditional Print Advertising versus Digital Online Marketing

INTRODUCTION

Digital © digitalcamertechnique.com

Digital © digitalcamertechnique.com

This blog post is written partly in a question and answer interview format. This step-by-step process is meant to make it easier to understand the transition from traditional (print) advertising to online (also known as digital) marketing.  It also emphasizes the importance of this evolutionary change. Since I know my own experiences intimately (what I have gone through as both a consumer and a business owner), I am using myself as both the interviewer and interviewee in the Q and A section.

WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY
The world as we know it is going through a major transition from printing everything to digital (paperless) technologies. There are several reasons for this change from print to pixel.

• First is the green reason. It involves using less paper, having less waste and conserving resources. In fact, some businesses have a green or paperless policy. They frown on the use of paper and go to great lengths to minimize its use altogether.

Reduce & Reuse Logo © Marketing Bytes

Reduce & Reuse Logo © Marketing Bytes

• Second is technology. The computer and the Internet have begun to make this possibility into a reality. But this transition is not seamless. One area where this is a road filled with uncertainties is in the marketing & advertising industry.

• There is still a great deal of paper used in this industry. Although it is decreasing and there are options to use paper or go paperless in many of our daily activities, it is my opinion that the case to continue in the less-paper direction with all due diligence is a crucial one.

• Unfortunately, one of the major obstacles to going paperless is the generation of adults, considered baby boomers and older, who grew up and became educated without this technology. The height of sophistication was slide rules and pocket calculators. Now there are the Inbound Boomers to help with this transition.

The Boomer Family © Marketing Bytes

The Boomer Family © Marketing Bytes http://www.facebook.com/TheInboundBoomers?v=wall

• The process of thinking is very different for those of us born before desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, iPods and I don’t know what other ‘i’ things there will be. We think on paper. Our reality is based on doing and learning things by reading from and writing on paper not from a computer screen, keypad and mouse (or touch pad). It takes a focused and concerted effort to change one’s thought processing beyond  ‘recycling one’s garbage’.

• None the less and for the reasons listed above, I think it is very important to have a discourse (this is where the Q and A format begins) to highlight where we are in the transition from print to pixel and the value of continuing as quickly as possible.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR CONSUMERS:
Q: Do you have any phone books in your home?
A: I admit that I still have a few local ones but none of the large, cumbersome ones.

Q: If so, what do you use them for?
A: Primarily to gather dust but I hear they are good as pillows for high chairs, car seats if someone is short and can’t reach the petals or see above the dashboard and the latest designer furniture pictured here.

Phone Book fo'ever © ecojoes.com

Q: How many times have you opened a phone book in the last year to find a phone number or locate a local business?
A: Once, maybe twice.

Q: Do you read the advertising circulars and magazines that are delivered weekly to your home by the post office?
A: Never

Q: Or do you throw them away without reading them?
A: They are delivered by letter carrier between Wednesday and Friday and placed in our lobby. Within a day, they become  a messy pile. The building super throws them away on Sunday for Monday garbage pickup.

Newspaper ads © Marketing Bytes

Newspaper ads © Marketing Bytes

Q: Do you collect discount coupon books and cut out retail coupons?
A: I love coupon books. In fact, when they arrive, I take most if not all of them so they do not end up in the trash. I hand them out in my neighborhood. Everyone loves when I do that. I have no patience to clip coupons but I do hear about people that do.

Q: How many times have you left coupons home or misplaced them so you were not able to use them when you needed them?
A: I always misplace the book coupons or other discount papers I receive.

Q: Do you have the plastic ID key chain tags that retailers give out?
A: Someone could write my biography based on the number and variety of the ID tags I have. In fact, CVS Pharmacy gives one the option of printing out a coupon or placing their weekly discount information on their ID tag so one never has to worry about losing a coupon. Other retailers should adopt that system too. It is a great digital, paperless move.

QUESTIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS:

Q: What techniques do you use to promote your business?
A: All online, ‘attraction’ and Inbound Marketing.

Q: What is the primary way your customers find you?
A: Networking, recommendations and referrals online and in-person.

Q: Do you advertise with traditional print media, print ads, coupons, etc?
A: No. But I know plenty of local businesses that do and I am startled by how much money they willingly spend to do so.

Q: Do you know where the circulars and magazines that you spend your advertising budget on go when they are delivered to postal residents in your community?
A: I know they go right into the garbage.

Garbage truck © dreamstime.com

Garbage truck © dreamstime.com

Q: Do you believe that if you keep using traditional methods of print media advertising, including direct mailings, that it will eventually pay off again when the economy improves?
A: I know that is NOT the case. Technology is changing the way consumers shop and businesses need to advertise. But many of my local business colleagues do not seem to understand this yet. Some times I consider sending out a postcard for the fun of it but the cost of printing and postage cool my enthusiasm.

Q: Do you know what the cost is per new customer based upon the system of advertising you are using?
A: I admit that I don’t use this tool religiously but I know it works and I recommend that clients use it. I also know that online marketing is much more affordable and has a much wider reach than traditional advertising unless you can afford an advertising spot on the SuperBowl.

SuperBowl Ad © USA Today

SuperBowl Ad © USA Today

Q: Do you have a trackable method for learning how your new customers find you?
A: Yes, the new online marketing technology programs have amazing features to assist business owners in following and recording the progress of their marketing activities.

Q: Do you think it is easiest and cheapest to use direct mail (letters and postcards) to contact existing customers and attract new ones?
A: I cringe every time I get another postcard or even letter in the mail from one of my community business colleagues. I know they think this is a reasonable and inexpensive way to advertise. It worked in the past. If only they would take that leap into the 21st Century, the new economy and online marketing to at least give it a try for a little while. They can always continue with traditional media too and compare the results.

Q: Are you afraid of the computer, the Internet and the new advertising & marketing technology?
A: Personally, I embrace it and I am fascinated by what is going on. But there are so many business owners who are terrified of using the new technology. Some barely know how to use a computer.

Online Marketing © AuburnBusiness.com

Online Marketing © AuburnBusiness.com

Q: Do you know what online marketing is and how it differs from traditional advertising in content, cost and coverage?
A: Because marketing and advertising are my business, I started to learn about the new technology about a year and a half ago. It was very challenging but essential for me. Therefore, I am now well versed in what online marketing is. It is the use of the computer, the Internet and a whole host of new programs to help businesses attract new customers. Just as customers have changed the way they shop, business owners have to change the way they advertise to meet their customers’ searching needs.

A: I also know that online marketing is very cost effective. In fact, it is the only way that many start up businesses can afford to advertise on a zero dollar budget. Print advertising is VERY expensive and it requires constant repetition for recognition. With online marketing, once you are on, you’re on. But you do want to update and tweak information there too.

A: Online marketing’s coverage is so much broader than print media. There is NO comparison.

Local SEO © SEOcompany247.com

Local SEO © SEOcompany247.com

Q: Are you familiar with Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
A: Search Engine Optimization is something that Google has been using for years to help consumers find what they are looking for. Google also designed SEO so that if a business uses the right formula, keywords, etc. it will rank well (first place or at least the first page) when a consumer searches for what they want.

A: Local SEO is the latest and most exciting addition to the host of services and tools Google offers. Instead of a ‘global’ search where a customer is looking to purchase something by mail (for example) and it can come from anywhere, local SEO is community specific. It is designed for consumers to locate what they want in a specific community. It is for making local, face-to-face purchases.

Q: Do you know what ‘Google Places’ are as well as their significance in promoting your business?
A: Google has identified over 49,000,000 local businesses in the US. Only about 11% of these businesses have ‘claimed’ their Google Place. Claiming one’s Google Place is the first step in participating in local online marketing and broadening one’s reach better than any other technique.

Google Places-Marketing Bytes near Rockville Centre, NY

Google Places-Marketing Bytes near Rockville Centre, NY

Q: Have you claimed your Google Place? Is your business on the ‘seven pack’?
A:  Yes, my company has claimed its Google Place. In the business categories I am listed under, I rank in the first seven listed and on the first page. This is both for my industry and geographic area. This is what is called the ‘seven pack’. (No it is not a free can of beer when you buy a six pack).

Q: Have you heard of Local Online Business Directories?
A: Local Online Business Directories are similar to print directories but they are dynamic, interactive, and can have visual and verbal information changed at any time. They also have links and can take you to other places. One of their primary features is reviews. They are the most attractive advertising aspect.

MerchantCircle Village © MerchantCircle.com

MerchantCircle Village © MerchantCircle.com

Q: Are you listed on Local Online Business Directories?
A: I am listed on over 70 directories because someone did it for me as a favor and did no know it is unnecessary and even appropriate to be listed on so many.

Q: Do you know how to get recommendations and use word of mouth on line?
A: Yes, there are programs designed to help businesses get recommendations from their website, e-mail, blog, etc. These type of recommendations ARE word of mouth online.

Q: Do you know how to convert your current customers into your sales force?
A: On line recommendations from loyal customers are the best selling tool a business can have.

Q: Did you know that national and regional corporations sometimes need to be advertised as local businesses?
A: Yes, when they have a local retail presence like a Subway, Dunkin Donut, CVS, etc. They are all part of your community’s retail landscape.

SOURCES:
EcoJoes-Green Thinking for the Average Joe

MerchantCircle, one of my favorite Local Online Business Directories

Local SEO Online Business Directories

The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories

Designing Traditional Print Advertising

Local Business Listings

Best SuperBowl ads

CVS Extra Care Card

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

The Street Fight Summit – Boosting the Hyperlocal Economy

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 at 8:00 AM – Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Building our own communities should be important to all of us. It is definitely important to Co-Founder of Street Fight, Laura Rich. Laura finds herself encouraged by the explosion in local industries that can further her cause to supply increases in networking options for local businesses and their respective consumers. For this reason Laura and Street Fight are sponsoring The Street Fight Summit.

With the surge in location-based sales, The Street Fight Summit comes at a perfect time.

Watching the industry grow while helping to define the future of hyperlocal business is a positive and rewarding experience. The benefits to the community are the pay-off for Laura and her Street Fight Summit team.

Guest List

To support the Street Fight Summit efforts, the conference will kick off with industry leaders who will exchange views, share industry tips, and network.

Many more make up this incredible list of leaders.

Summit Goals

The overall goal of the Street Fighter Summit is to collaborate and combine strategies that will help companies going after the $150 billion local advertising market. Those companies include hyperlocal publishing network Patch (owned by AOL), location-based services like Foursquare, and daily deals businesses like Groupon Attending SFS will enable exchanges that are focused on the continual shaping of this inspiring new industry.

Participants can expect:

  • To learn how to better leverage their own products, services, and opportunities.
  • Find new ways to earn revenue.
  • Locate and learn about the technologies that will translate into higher incomes.
  • Help create and shape sustainable landscape for local marketing online.

Expect to hear from powerful industry leaders to help develop the most innovative methods your business and your community.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. on Oct. 25. Events run 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. each day — this includes a special cocktail reception for all attendees at the end of day one.

DBMEi subscribers can receive $100 off the ticket price by using the discount code SFS11-GWFK09 when registering.

@streetfightmag505050

Street Fight Summit Guest List

Street Fight Summits Tickets for the General Public

SFS Review and Forward

SeeClickFix – Street Fight Summit

About Joy Lynskey

Full-Time Freelance Writer and Content Manager for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Digital Marketing.

Digital Media Monthly

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