Many people are still trapped in the usual ways of how advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications are handled, unaware that this practice of traditional marketing no longer works for today’s customers. Traditional Marketing is, in fact, dead.

Several studies show that customer behavior has drastically changed. Modern day customers don’t need companies the way they used to. Buyers nowadays do a lot of things on their own like checking product and service information through the Internet, from sources outside the company, and even through word of mouth.

On the average, customers have already completed nearly 60% of a typical purchasing decision — researching solutions, ranking options, setting requirements, benchmarking pricing, and so on before even having a conversation with a supplier according to a recent Corporate Executive Board study of more than 1,400 B2B customers.

So how can you harness the prevalent change in customer behavior to promote your products? An ideal solution would be through effective use of social media channels as well as empowering these customers to be your advocates in searching for solution. Again you should take note that traditional marketing would never thrive in these platforms.

The idea of hiring employees, agencies, consultants, and partners whose perceptions, and interests do not align with that of the customers and expect them to convince buyers to spend their hard-earned money for the company’s product or services simply does not make sense.

You should be able to look for people who know exactly how to be in the shoes of the customers and let them influence the target market to consider your products or services. Here are some key notes to consider:

1. Expand the buyer’s network of peers.

When a buyer contemplates on a major purchase, they will more likely ask their neighbors or friends first for recommendations before looking for a salesperson to talk to. With this in mind, you should think of ways on bringing this community-oriented buying experience to your social media efforts. Look for ways on how your loyal customers can advocate for your company’s products or services on their social media platform of choice.

2. Identify your influencers.

Customer’s potential value includes how large and strategic the customer’s network is and his reputation to his network. Once you’ve identified these influencers, cultivate them by giving them something to talk about. By providing them with insider knowledge and previews of new product releases, these customer influencers would definitely help you penetrate new markets without spending a lot of resources.

3. Give customer influencers what they need.

Customer influencers crave for new knowledge, strong affiliation networks, and positive reputation. By providing customer influencers with the things they need like useful research and financial proof points that they can use for presentations, they would be able to build their reputation as strategic thinkers to senior management. Customer influencers will surely appreciate the strategic benefits your company provides and in turn will do their part of enthusiastically promoting your company.

Connectivity, interaction, and engagement are key factors for today’s marketing effort to flourish. The realms of your marketing campaign should not solely lie on your shoulders. Yes, traditional marketing is dead. That is why you need to find new allies. Look for loyal and influential customers you can rely on, foster your company’s relationship with these customers, give them power and let them help you in your crusade.

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Christian works as a real estate assistant at Xilium. He specializes in back office support, content writing, social media marketing, and administrative assistance. Follow him on Google+.
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