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Where marketing ‘experts’ talk nonsense

There is only one thing you ‘must’ do, if you want a successful online marketing campaign, says business consultant Graham Jones

The other day I was discussing online marketing when I discovered that some people are being told that they “must” use Facebook for their business. One company had even set up a two-year contract at £1,000 a month for Facebook marketing that just a few months in was proving pointless.

When I hear people saying things like “you must do Facebook” or “you must only have one website” or “you must Tweet twice a day”, I say “my goodness, have they passed that law already?” As far as I know there is no compulsory requirement to do anything online. If you want you even have permission to talk to customers in the “real world” and not even contact them online. Wow: what a shock.

Let’s get this straight: anyone who tells you that you “must” do something online is talking nonsense.

Facebook marketing is brilliant and works well – but only in certain circumstances. Similarly, Twitter is fantastic in particular situations. Plus, having multiple websites can be the right thing to do for some businesses. But each of these things might not be correct for you, your situation, your market and your customers. In other words, the things you “must do” are the ones that matter in your particular set of circumstances.

However, how do you know what matters in your situation? This is the conundrum many companies face. They are not entirely sure what is important, so they turn to “experts” who then provide them with a mantra that seems sensible but may not work.

Marketing pre Internet

Here’s how to solve this situation: Think back to the “olden days”. In those olden days, before the Internet came along, this is how business worked. You would get a lead, or a potential customer would walk through the door or call you. Your reaction at that point was to ask them lots of questions; you wanted to find out more about what the customer required so you could decide how best you could help them. At the same time as quizzing them, you took into account body language, tone of voice and the facial expressions they used. In short, you were assessing your potential customer at a variety of levels so you could serve them in the best way possible. You then delivered a solution that was based on their needs and behaviours.

Now, fast forward to the Internet age. How do we do business now? Well, most firms fill their website with “everything about us” as well as tons of details about every product and service. Then this smorgasbord of stuff is literally thrown at potential customers via the web where businesses are effectively saying “sort it out yourself, then come back to us when you have worked out if there is anything we do you might be interested in.”

In the past, we focused on what was important – what the customer wanted. Now, thanks to the Internet we know much less about our clients than we did in the past. So, is there something we “must do” online? Well, actually, yes there is: get to know your customers more deeply and deliver the kind of online experience they want, rather than what some marketing “expert” tells you.

Visit Graham’s website

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