Two articles I recently read brought me to a similar recognition, but most aptly stated by Joseph Schumpeter,The Economist, March 14, 2015 — “People still greet each other by handing out little rectangles made from dead trees rather than tapping their phones together.”
From this point I respectfully pilfer Schumpeter, and mostly Rhonda Abrams, USA Today, May 6, 2015.
The business world is obsessed with the notion of disruptive innovation. But there are lots of things that do not need to be disrupted or innovated. Having dinner with someone is a better way of getting to know them than Skypeing. Exchanging business cards, whether an elaborate Japanese ritual or an American slingshot maneuver across the table, still seem to be an excellent way to initiate a lasting relationship.
In the world of communications there are so many marketing vehicles and only a limited amount of money. The main marketing vehicles include Print Media: newspapers, magazines; Broadcast Media: radio, TV; Online: website, SEO, SEM, mobile marketing; Social media: blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.; Face-to-Face: trade shows; Signage: vehicles, billboards. The list is longer but the money bucket is already empty. Whichever vehicle you choose, remember repetition is the key. You must be seen repeatedly with the same message for your marketing to make an impact.
What happened to word of mouth? Everybody says it’s the most effective marketing technique, but most people overestimate their word-of-mouth efforts. “Eighty percent of small business owners think they’re doing well in customer service and word-of-mouth marketing, but only 8 percent of their customers think the same thing,” said marketing guru Peter Shankman. Not to say word of mouth is anything less than timeless, it just doesn’t work well when the entire marketing scheme is scattered and disjointed, as many are in today’s advertising world.
Social media is sexy, but requires constant updating. Broadcast media is sexier, but requires lots of cash. Generally, advertising is easy, but requires refinement of a core message. That’s the most common missing link. You need a marketing plan to keep your name in front of customers — consistently, of course. But a consistent core message — that’s the first imperative.
There’s still tremendous power in printed materials. Start with your business card. Make sure it includes all the necessary contact info, including your social media handles. Add a brief line expressing your core message. Carry it with you at all times. It’s consistent. It’s timeless.
The ritual swapping of paper rectangles may be old-fashioned but on it will go.