Procrastination Should Not Be Your Marketing Strategy

Christmas is that time of year where you separate the wheat from the chaff for the hard core procrastinator.  Christmas is a holiday we all know a year in advance will be here on that exact date, yet so many people wait until that last moment before tackling the holiday shopping.  Many marketers would argue that the shopping aspect is the most important part of the Christmas season.  Businesses don’t want to lose out on that market share.

Consumer procrastination is nothing new, it is actually quite endemic.  Businesses and marketers have dealt with it for years.  There is a plethora of sales rolled out in the last few days before Christmas to capitalize on the procrastinating shopper.  But times have changed and many businesses are not playing catch up very successfully.

Technology now encourages procrastination.  It is easier to put things off because the new consumer knows they can do anything they need through social media.   Todays procrastinators simply pick up their smartphone, tablet or other social media device to shop without ever entering a brick and mortar store.  Social media is the procrastinators shopping treasure chest.

In a world with Internet, on-line shopping and e-commerce it is even easier to delay or “put it off for now”.  The technology of social media makes it easier to be a procrastinator.  However the same technology that encourages procrastination can also be used to overcome it.  Consumer procrastination can be planned for but how do you deal with marketing procrastination?

Successful marketing can sink a business when you have a marketing culture that procrastinates.  When you have a marketing strategy that is based on the “paper flyer” model while having your social media on the back burner, you are procrastinating.  “Thinking about” entering the social media market place is not the same as “planning” for it.  Thinking about it is just another form of procrastination while planning for it is actively taking ownership!

We'll get around to the repairs...someday!
We’ll get around to the repairs…someday!

For businesses to be successful in todays market they need to innovate not procrastinate.  They need to dip into the array of technology available to them and develop an understanding of social media.  The dependence on print advertising will no longer generate sustainable customer loyalty.  That market is changing and it is changing fast.  There is no time for marketers that procrastinate.  They are a barrier to success.

There is an old adage that defines this perfectly “Fail to plan, plan to fail“.  Is your marketing campaign adapting to this?  Does your ability to innovate outweigh your habit to procrastinate?  The world of social media now allows small business to accomplish amazing marketing tasks while maintaining a realistic marketing budget.  Do you realize how far something as minimal as a $500 budget annually will go in today’s world of social marketing?

When it comes to the need for a social media plan the statistics speak for themselves.

According to http://www.pewinternet.org/ as of January 2014:

  • 90% of North American adults have a cell phone
  • 58% of North American adults have a smartphone
  • 32% of North American adults own an e-reader
  • 42% of North American adults own a tablet computer
  • 74% of all online adults use social media
  • 89% of adults ages 18-29 use social media
  • 82% of adults ages 30-49 use social media
  • 65% of adults ages 50-64 use social media
  • 49% of adults ages 65+ are now using social networking sites like Facebook
  • 72% of consumers have made their purchasing decision up long before walking into the store.

Imagine what these figures will look like in January 2015.  No business should be losing out on this market due to the inability to innovate or adapt.  Your customers of tomorrow have arrived today and if you are not ready they won’t be back.  Social media takes your business out of its kiosk in the Mall and puts you in the global market place.

In the fast paced world of social media businesses should already be planning their marketing campaigns for the coming year.  If you haven’t begun your planning for a social media strategy in 2015 you are procrastinating.  That can only result in lost business and lack of growth.  Now is the time to be planning your marketing campaign for 2015.  Start innovating before procrastinating leaves you behind.  You will wind up being that Christmas shopper who is stuck with a bad tie or left over sales socks that nobody else wanted!

Just one man’s opinion!

 

Twitter, An Unpolished Gem

I have heard many people tell me that Twitter is just a passing fad.  Interestingly these same people are the generation who, in the 50’s and 60’s, became rock and roll junkies despite their parents generation asserting that it was only a fad.  Now they have become their parents.  I hate to bust their bubble but social media is here to stay and Twitter has become a big part of social media.

I also know many people who are using Twitter because it has a more friendly smartphone app than Facebook.  Business Insider reports that over 60% of social media time is spend on portable devices and not PC’s.  With stats like that Twitter is a marketing tool that is to powerful to ignore but it has to be used in a planned way.

Facebook is also a social marketing tool but is to cluttered to be a real effective marketing tool, unless you are buying ads.  Twitter, when used effectively, is probably one of the most positive and cost saving marketing tools to present itself in a long time.  Plus it compliments your Facebook page very well.  However one must understand it is only “one” tool that needs to be included in any businesses social media plan but I do need to stress the word “plan”.  By itself Twitter is just an echo in the world of social media.  It needs to be focused, targeted and used to promote other aspects of your social media plan.

I have people call me almost daily to ask if I will handle their Twitter account.  These are small businesses taking their first steps into the world of social media and understanding that world can bring great rewards to the small business owner.  But 9 times out of 10 when I ask who their target is they have no idea what I’m talking about.  At this point the conversation changes from “Do you want to hire me to handle your Twitter account or are you looking for someone to teach you about social media?”.  Two different services with two different costs.

Imagine as a small local restaurant being able to make all of the businesses around you aware of your lunch specials two hours before lunch.  Those same local restaurants no longer have to depend on weekly flyers in the mail (80% wind up in the garbage anyway) to advertise their daily specials.  Plus that idea you had on Monday for those weekly lunch special and you advertised in some local flyer may have changed for any number of reasons by Thursday.  A quick tweet to those following you can address that issue.  And by simply sending the message to, for example, @NanaimoChamber in the proper form rather than @johnsmith you can connect with all 2,725 followers of the Chamber of Commerce rather than the 57 followers of john smith.

Take it a step further and every local boutique-type business can open their doors to every tourist who visited your shop.  With the proper use of your Facebook and Twitter content you can now reach that tourist who passed through your shop in July to make them aware of a Christmas special.  Welcome to the world of e-commerce!

Those same tourists, when they get home with some neat little thing they picked up, tell their friends “Oh I got it here” and pass on the Twitter address.  Or better yet they take a camera phone picture and post it immediately to their Twitter account.  What better way (and inexpensive) for any local artist to promote their work?

Not getting a wheelchair through there.
Not getting a wheelchair through there.

And if you think no one is paying attention, think again.  I recently took this picture at a Safeway in Kelowna.  I tweeted it from my phone immediately with a short caption about not having room to get my wheelchair through that opening.  I made sure to include @safeway in the list of accounts.  I had a response from the corporate office of Safeway within two hours asking me where this store was.  I responded, they contacted the identified store and corrected the issue.  How often do you get a 24 hour resolution?

Twitter is a valuable tool to any business but for small business it is an unpolished gem.  I don’t know of too many small businesses that have thousands of dollars to invest in marketing.  Twitter is a way for them to grow their business inexpensively by reaching the world.  It’s not a fad and it isn’t going away.

With that said it is not a Facebook type tool and requires a strategy to make it effective.  I know as many people who picked up an account, send three tweets and then never went back.  Twitter isn’t designed to let everyone in your network know about the latest shoes you purchased and where you found them.  It is designed for taking a picture of those same shoes and tweeting that picture with a quick message saying “get them now before they’re gone”.  As I have said before it’s not build for conversation.

In 2013 Twitter’s SEC disclosures, prior to issuing their IPO, the company said it has 232 million users. But those aren’t its total number of registered users. Instead, they are what Twitter calls “monthly active users.”  Twitter obviously isn’t for everybody but when used effectively it is a powerful (and did I mention inexpensive) tool.  This is too big of an audience to ignore.  Are you maximizing your budget to get as much exposure as possible?

Just one man’s opinion!