The Secret To Not Caring What’s Next

by · December 16, 201311 comments

Social media emerged because consumers wanted to control their media environment. The confluence of dot-com developers, freshly out of work, realizing they needed to get more people on the web if they wanted to rebuild their jobs, and a growing consumer distaste for greedy corporations barking at them, produced the perfect temperature for social media platforms to take hold and grow.

Blogs trumped news sites because there were no pop-ups, paywalls or flashing ad-scapes. Social networks trumped television or radio for consumer time spent because there was more than one-way communication and it was mostly void of “buy this” or “click here!”

Since marketers have followed consumers to the social web, the once pristine landscape is cluttered with that which they ran from. Good blogs are now eyeball magnets supported by high-dollar advertising buys. Social networks are mad with pimp posts, peeking into your news streams and feeds making them so commercial-like if you read your stream out-loud, you’d think you were listening crappy radio where “content” is hard to find amidst all the “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!”

Facebook’s seemingly desperate play to blackmail brands isn’t helping the marketer, either. Organic brand posts are even harder for consumers to see, forcing brands to buy more ads, forcing the organic brand posts to be harder to see … and so on and so on. (Of course, I’m reserving some hesitation before pointing a strong finger at the ‘book for this one. That organic dip may be because of the onslaught of retail sponsored posts during holidays. Time will tell.)

But when the news hit, discerning minds celebrated. “Less junk in my stream!” The sentiment sounds familiar.

If you’re reading the tea leaves on this, you can start to see that what is next in social media is whatever isn’t in marketing. Consumers will continue their migration away from sponsored messages and banner ads. We don’t want the blinking lights of Times Square. We’d rather have the relative peacefulness of a stroll around Greenwich Village.

What does this mean for the social marketer? Mobility. You’re going to need to migrate to Snapchat and Path and Instagram and Vine and any other network that connects people but doesn’t have an established business model. But you’ll only be there for a year or two before the ads emerge and the consumers migrate again.

The answer to the future of the successful marketing is baked into building outstanding customer experiences that create “Holy Smokes!” moments so compelling, your customers have to tell their friends.

What does this mean for the smart marketer? Focusing on forces that permeate social networks, regardless of which ones or who uses them.

The answer to the future of the successful marketing is baked into building outstanding customer experiences that create “Holy Smokes!” moments so compelling, your customers have to tell their friends.

Successful brands of tomorrow will not be so because of advertising or public relations or social media. They will not win on television or blogs or on Facebook. The winners in the marketing world in five or 10 or even 50 years will be winners because they inherently understand how to plan, create, execute and foster strong word-of-mouth marketing movements.

No, advertising won’t die. Neither will public relations. Neither will social media. It doesn’t mean what we know is now defunct. It only means that people don’t want noise. They want relevance. And that can ultimately only come from the people they trust.

Word of mouth genius is what we should be creating. It permeates itself through great marketing, regardless of channel or demographic. If we’re focused on anything less, we’re just following the flock as the seasons change.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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