Conversational Marketing

A recent survey, conducted by TWI Surveys for the Society for New Communications Research has come up with some interesting statistics concerning conversational marketing versus traditional marketing.  The news isn’t good for newspapers, magazines, and broadcast media.  It is good for anyone looking to promote a product or service on a limited budget.  Of the 260 survey respondents:

  • 70% are currently spending less than 3% of their communications budget on conversational marketing.
  • Two out of three plan to increase their conversational marketing spending in the next twelve months.
  • 57% anticipate spending more on social marketing than on traditional marketing in just five years.
  • 23.8% predict that their spending on conversational marketing will equal their spending on traditional marketing in five years.

Taking the last two points together, nearly 81% of the marketers who responded to the survey plan to be spending at least as much on conversational marketing as on traditional marketing by the year 2012.

Why is this important?  Think about your current marketing expenses.  When you run an ad in your local newspaper you reach thousands of people and you pay for every single one of them.  But how many of those people are potential customers?   One percent?  Two percent? 

What if you send an email to your existing customer base?  How many of them are potential customers?  The answer is 100%.  And email is a whole lot less expensive than traditional print advertising.  It’s also immediate and with the right software it can be personalized with the customer’s name and other information.

The downside of the email approach is that you don’t reach any new people if you only email existing customers.   But email isn’t the only conversational marketing tool.  As we’ve discussed recently, the new social marketing tools are only limited by our imagination.  You know about blogs or you wouldn’t be reading this.  Social sites like MySpace and FaceBook, interactive sites like Second Life, tools like instant message and Twitter and YouTube all have the potential to be great ways of getting the message out.  And they can all be directed at very narrow groups of people either by interest, or by geography or any other demographic. 

Who knows what new tools will be available by 2012, or even 2008?

It will be interesting to see if SNCR’s predictions come true.  But can we afford to wait on the sidelines to see if they do?

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out the value of persistence, whether it’s in marketing or any other area of business and personal life.  The University of Missouri is the oldest public university west of the Mississippi.  It was founded in 1839.  As of this weekend the MU football team is number one in the country for only the second time in its history.  Talk about persistence!  They’re an overnight success and it only took 168 years.  Congratulations Tigers!

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