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A Taste of the Future of Marketing (No Crystal Ball Needed)

I’ve been somewhat heavily involved in social media marketing for several years, and involved in internet marketing for our company since 1997. I began my own online consulting business in 2009.  As such, I’ve seen a lot of changes take place over time.

Here are a few potential surprises, depending on how long you’ve been active online:

When I first started optimizing our website for the search engines, Yahoo was absolutely dominant, with something on the order of 65% market share.  If you weren’t being found on Yahoo, you weren’t getting a whole lot of traffic. 

Was Google in second place?  Nope – it didn’t even exist.  Other search engines that were important back then included Excite, Lycos, and Altavista.  Have you heard much about those lately?  Me, neither.

When I began blogging for business in 2007, MySpace was the dominant social network platform. Facebook existed, but it was sort of a non-factor for marketing.  Twitter also existed, but it hadn’t gained much traction.  Now, MySpace seems like a giant abandoned playground.

Statistically, people are spending less and less time watching television, or reading traditional (meaning not online) newspapers.  Those who do watch TV shows watch a good-sized percentage on sites like and Fancast.

I haven’t looked anything up in an actual Yellow Pages in many years, and I would wager that you haven’t either.

Despite Facebook’s recent privacy concerns, they have edged out Google as the most-visited site online for the past couple of months.  Let that really sink in for a second.

Can you guess what the second-place search tool online for raw traffic is today after Google?  It’s YouTube.

So, what does all of this mean for the future of your own marketing efforts?

  • First, don’t focus on the tools and platforms themselves.  Instead, focus on having a strategy for engaging people on your own turf and terms somehow.   (i.e. Don’t depend on Facebook to always be there for you.  It may be a distant memory in 10 years.)

  • If you don't have a social media strategy, the time is absolutely NOW (or more accurately, yesterday) to figure this out.

In the next several years, if your business doesn’t have a social component that allows your clients to share their experiences about you along with some type of strategy on your part to “listen” to their needs/concerns/praise, two things will happen:

1. They will be talking about you anyway.

2. You won’t hear them.

The bottom line here is that I wouldn’t waste any time or effort on “snail mail”, TV, radio, or print advertising UNLESS you are planning to tie it into your website/blog/online presence somehow.  After all, as marketing becomes one big conversation, you don’t want to be the shy wallflower in the corner.

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