This is how lots of marketers feel in the 21st century; deeply apprehensive, as they find themselves washed along in tides of change that are utterly transforming the ways people absorb marketing.
For those who are still sleepwalking in dreams of 20th century marketing, here are some statistics that should stir you from your soma-induced slumber:
- Nearly 50 percent of Internet users utilize search engines every day. (And the Yellow Pages are losing more ground every day.)
- 97 percent of click-throughs from search engines occur on the first page (so it's largely pointless to appear on the second page or higher).
- More than 80 percent of Americans perform online searches before making a purchase.
- 50 percent of TV viewing is done by DVR (so fewer people than ever are watching commercials. As if they watched most of them, in the first place.)
- More than 50 percent of cars have MP3 jacks (so drivers listen to less radio than ever before).
- Newspaper circulation has shrunk to the same level as in 1966.
- People are clicking less and less on banner ads and increasingly tend not to trust sponsored search engine results (so the importance of appearing in organic search results for the terms your customers are searching is key to online marketing success).
- Research a purchase (perform Internet searches, then read product reviews and related industry information in order to make an informed decision).
- Search online for the best combination of price, quality, service and vendor credibility.
- Make the purchase online or take steps online to move to the next stage in making the purchase from the preferred vendor (like making a phone call, getting a store address, filling out a form to request more information, or subscribing to emails or RSS feeds to continue gathering data and deepen the relationship with the preferred vendor).
Some of the old school Wichita marketing gurus have thrown in the towel, retiring early and moaning that the creativity and fun have gone out of marketing. I disagree. The creative side of marketing is alive and well. Brand still has to be compelling, the marketing message itself still has be masterfully crafted, and the deep camaraderie that develops between marketer and client is as strong as ever.
The difference in this brave new world of marketing is that we can measure our results with absolute clarity. And nothing is more fun than sending a monthly SEO report to a client that clearly shows their customers finding them as a result of our marketing efforts.