Remember the old days when we used to turn to the yellow pages before ordering a pizza? Remember all the phone calls that were once required to find a plumber or a foot doctor or check movie listings?
Let’s reminisce. I remember a time when a night at the movies started with the newspaper. “Do you want to see a movie?” A friend would say. And then another friend would pick up the day’s news. “The Story of XZY is playing at ten,” that person would say. And someone else would say, “Great. I read good reviews of that movie in yesterday’s paper.” And because of this simple remark, a ten-word validation provided by a trusted friend based on a review written by a professional movie critic and printed in a reputable paper, we would all head out for a night on the town with high expectations and wide open wallets.
These days, different mechanisms are in place to convince people to do the things they do. This transformation has happened so quickly and completely that nobody is quite sure yet how to make the most of the new system. On both the buying and selling ends of the marketing transaction, we’re still trying to find ways to 1. Decide where to place our trust as consumers, and 2. inspire trust and provoke action among potential customers.
We understand what the internet can do for our businesses: It can get us noticed, and it can provide a stage on which to present our products and services in a clear and positive light. And if we use social media properly, we can convince influential people to promote us to their friends.
We can also use the internet to gather data that can help us better understand our customers and their needs. (An integrated CRM system can help with this, but even without it, the same principle applies). Every time someone visits a business website, he or she leaves behind volumes of potential data that can be used to move the business forward. If we’re listening, one angry complaint from a dissatisfied customer can do more for us than an expensive three day business seminar.
But is there anything the internet can’t do? Let’s discuss this in the following post.