It's interesting that those in the social media industry believe everything that's occurring with respect to social media is new. As I look back to direct marketing, database marketing, networking and advertising – I don't believe our goals for businesses were different at all. There are a lot of doom and gloom stories about how every business must adapt or they're going to fail. I don't believe that's true.
While I agree that the mediums have changed (and improved), businesses are still trying to achieve what they always have. The goals for business have never been different, it's the mediums and the expectations of consumers that have changed.
If I were to write a manifesto for business, it would probably have these ten goals:
- My business will be available where prospects and customers are looking for us.
- My business will be available when prospects and customers need us.
- My business will respond when prospects and customers make a request.
- My business will set realistic expectations for prospects and customers.
- My business will deliver what customers expected.
- My business will deliver when we said we would.
- My business will admit when we made a mistake.
- My business will fix our mistakes.
- My business will be honest with you.
- My business will effectively communicate progress along the way.
In return for being open, honest, accountable and available, businesses hope that prospects and customers will return the favor – communicating how well they performed. This isn't just good marketing or new marketing, this is good business. These have always been the goals of the businesses I've worked with.
As you review these goals, there's nothing mentioned about new media, experiential marketing, social media, search, search engine optimization, twitter, Facebook, email or any other marketing medium. Those mediums' existence make it much easier to achieve the business goals – but it doesn't require that every business adopt them.
Your company may find that good old fashioned cold calling does the trick. Remember – it's still true that the majority of the business world has not adopted social media, and many are successful, growing and even flourishing businesses. Take Apple for example… I don't see Apple being open, transparent or overwhelmingly engaged in social media – but they're doing quite well, aren't they?
My point isn't to discourage companies from adopting and utilizing social media. Quite the opposite. If your business wants to adopt the goals of the above manifesto, I have no doubt that social media will accelerate your business given the proper resources and the right strategy. If those goals are not the goals of your company, social media may not be a fit.
Think before you leap! The water is cold and deep. 🙂