Millions of consumers converse on a daily basis in online communities, discussion forums, blogs and social networks. They turn to the Internet to share opinions, advice, grievances and recommendations. Are you listening, connecting and responding in a way that protects and promotes your brand?

Find out how consumers feel about your brand, product or service-in their words. Listening to our consumers is most critical at a time when there is so much to offer on the Internet. It has been said that traditional media is losing its face value and that the Internet is a fad and digital only applies to the millennium generation. While that may seem true, if you want to stay on the innovative cusp for your business, use both traditional and internet media marketing and here are some reasons why.

o Online conversations can power or deflate a company’s brand. Do you have a presence?
o Discover specific issues that are being discussed around your company, brand or organization and
create feedback to these issues.
o There may be events, trends and issues that may be influencing industry and brand buzz.
o Measure how your online and offline marketing campaigns resonate with consumers.
o Leverage word-of-mouth to drive brand credibility, and ultimately sales if you use face-to-face marketing, Internet Marketing, Search Engine Optimization Strategy, and Social Media Strategy correctly.

According to Nielson research, TV users watch more than ever before (an average of 127 hrs, 15 min per month) and these users are spending 9% more time using the Internet (26 hrs, 26 min per month) from last year. Approximately 220 million Americans have Internet access at home and/or work with a growing number using the Internet for research and social media.

Knowing this research, traditional media entertains and communicates to a mass audience whereas digital media entertains, communicates with, and engages the individual. The benefits of digital media can be highly measurable and marketers can often see a direct effect in the form of improved sales in addition to establishing a direct link with the consumer. This can also be cost effective. However, the pitfalls of digital marketing can be that the medium is new, constantly changing and evolving with results that vary. You often get what you ask for! Digital media is known as digitized content (text, graphics, audio and video) that can be transmitted over the Internet.

By engaging your customer, you can clearly define your audience and determine the best way to engage that audience (both traditionally and digitally). First, examine your budget and deliverables and set goals with measurable expectations. Engage your consumer in conversation and always market in a way that truly connects your consumer and answers any questions they may have about your product or service. Use traditional and digital media to reach your mass targeted audience and invite them to be engaged via the web. Leverage the web to start conversations. This is where you can lose or gain the attention of your audience if done correctly. Engage the viewer for lead generation.

Another form to connect with your audience is social media. I have found social media to be very beneficial both personally and professionally.

The wave of social media enables a person to establish rapport with identified customers. Social Media is a marketing tool designed to establish a presence and relationship with targeted prospects. Blogging can be an important part of Internet Marketing Strategy with fresh, targeted content that attracts inbound links and builds a relationship with prospects, but most importantly makes you the perceived expert. We discussed the different Social Media sites and some of the most popular social media areas to get into.

How are you connecting with your target audience? Is your client under the age of 35 and needing more from you than just a phone call or face to face meetings? How do you know when and how to market to your target audience? Wow, there is so much more to learn in the wave of social media and it sure is fun and exciting! However, if you are not doing this, I predict you will be left behind in the future. Be innovative, yet traditional at the same time. Identify the best way to communicate with your target audience and diversify your methods of marketing. It is no longer a business world where your name stands alone. Branding is much more difficult in today’s society with the Internet and so many competitors.

By Roger