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Marketing has changed drastically over the last decade, and especially so over the last five years.

With the rise in popularity of social media and content marketing, the old rules of marketing have been replaced by new rules. Has your business caught up, or are you still trying to market as if it is 2003? There are a number of reasons why it’s essential to update your marketing approach if you haven’t already, or risk losing out on business.

Many businesses apply the same ideas that worked for them previously to their social media and content marketing, and are surprised when they don’t get the results they are looking for. Customers have changed and their expectations are different. Just recently in the Next Marketing office, we were discussing our annual leave plans and my marketing assistant had a holiday package quote for a trip to Fiji.  As a marketing exercise, we checked out reviews of the hotel and it’s social media presence and quickly ascertained that there were several problems with the hotel.  The result? A call back to the travel agent to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

If you are wondering if your business has caught up with the times, here are some of the old rules that are no longer relevant, and what you should be trying instead:

Appealing to a mass market

It used to be that companies would create a product that was designed to appeal to as many people as possible, and attempt to sell it on a mass scale. More recently audiences have become fragmented into different niche groups, and this approach simply doesn’t work. A more effective approach is to create a product designed to appeal specifically to a certain group, and market it specifically towards them.

Broadcasting your marketing message to as many people as possible

Along with the mass market approach comes mass marketing. Distributing your message to as wide an audience as possible used to be an effective approach, but now with so many different messages being received at once, audiences have become immune to the mass appeal approach. Unless your message is specifically targeted at them, your potential customers are likely to ignore it.

Creating a brand name and using it to market products from a number of different categories

Branding used to be a way for businesses to create an identity, which they would then use to sell their products to customers. These days, most customers pay little attention to brand messages, and there is an inherent distrust of companies and big brands. If you want to effectively create a brand that your customers will pay attention to, you need to give them the power (through feedback) to determine your brand and the direction it takes.

The future of marketing is not in the distribution of marketing messages to a mass audience, but in narrowly targeting a specific section of customers.

With consumers dispersing into smaller groups with different needs and identities, a more focused approach is going to get much better results.

Customers also expect to be able to interact with your brand, and have a say in how it develops, rather than being passive consumers.

What do you think?

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Jo Macdermott

Jo Macdermott

<a href="http://au.linkedin.com/in/jomacdermott">Jo Macdermott</a> is the Chief Marketing Consultant at <a href="http://www.nextmarketing.com.au/">Next Marketing</a> in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on <a href="https://twitter.com/NextMarketingAU">Twitter here</a>.

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