Contributed Column

Marketing
Demystified

by Matt Hayes, Hayes Group Inc.

Blog It

So, there I was contemplating high-focus, guerrilla tactics like matchbook covers and postcards. Then some techie hot shot in our office says, “Not enough buzz in that. Let’s blog it.”  As a unified “yeah” rose above the energy in the war room, it became obvious to me and the client that the concept of guerrilla marketing had reached the Internet. The requirement of strategic focus could become conversational in nature, and tactics have now clustered in a way not heard of only a few years ago. 

Let’s face it. The party is over. The consumer has won.  They can search for what they want when they want and get it. They don’t have to sit and wait for your brilliant reason why they should buy your wonderful product or service. All they have to do is check in with folks of similar mind. So why not start a conversation of your own with your customers (and prospects) and address their interests, questions and concerns as if they were in the room? Not a bad idea. But how? Enter the blog. 

We all know that dealing with the informational density and power of the Internet can be a bit like trying to fill a shot glass with a fire hose; but it doesn’t have to be or feel that way. As the years (and weeks) fly by, the rules and opportunities on the Internet change as we speak but are more manageable as we advance. The blog phenomenon is a clear example of exactly that. 

The blog has become a significant part of many of today’s marketing buzz strategies. Why? Because it works and it’s very inexpensive to execute. As with any other marketing tactic, though, you can’t just jump in. It takes some planning. There are effective and not-so-effective ways of using the blog for your brand — your product or service. 

Blogs were started only a few years ago, but already there are almost 10 million of them operating. It is anticipated that this number will more than double in the next year alone. One research group claims that in the neighborhood of 40,000 blogs or more are added each year. These numbers could prove to be modest in my view. 

Does this mean that it could be too late for your brand or service to blog? Not at all. What it means is that you can learn from the innovators. (There’s an idea in itself.) It also means that blogs have become an acceptable means of communication and learning. It will continue to be so. You would be simply joining a movement that has only just shifted into high gear. You would, in time, also be where your prime prospect cluster already spends a significant amount of time. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

For starters, most blogs that are not corporately opened and supported are done so by folks between the ages of 13 and 29. Also, you should not just throw one up without some planning and assurance that it will integrate with the balance of your marketing tactics. Treat it as a marketing tool along with all the others that you have out there.   

What’s your primary demo? Matchbooks and postcards could still work, you say?  Yeah, but where’s that important third-party endorsement from conversation? Besides, more and more people are demonstrating that they would prefer to dialogue with folks of like mind when considering a purchase.  How cool to be able to do that from the comfort of your own home. Just ask the over 40 million people who spent more than four hours each day last year doing just that. •

Matt Hayes is president and creative director of Hayes Group Inc. in Williston.

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