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The Modern Face of Marketing
The strength of your relationships will determine your success in business.

BY MICHAEL COHN

Marketing has been around for a very long time and without incorporating marketing into your overall business strategy, nobody will know about you and about your brand. Obviously, marketing is an absolute necessity. However, it is important to realize that marketing has gone through several phases over time and it doesn't necessarily resemble its former self.

The past versus the present

In the past, marketing meant that you (as a business owner) would talk to your potential clients and existing clients in a one-way direction. You would talk to them as opposed to speaking with them. There truly is a world of difference between the two approaches. You would broadcast whatever it was that you wished to say and the person on the other end would either listen to what you were saying (if you held their interest) or they wouldn't. There was absolutely no interaction in that situation. The problem is that now, your potential clients and existing clients have gotten a lot smarter than they were before. Between their thought process and technology's making it so easy, they can block your marketing messages in a variety of creative ways.

So, the question that you may be asking yourself is, “What can you do in that case?” Well, that is where inbound marketing comes into play. With inbound marketing, you get your clients to come to you. You provide them with valuable content, which entices them, engages them, and eventually compels them to initiate interactions with you. You, in a sense, are creating a foundation for your relationship that makes the other person feel as though he or she can't live without what you are selling. However, it is important to keep in mind that you must make those marketing materials really top shelf in order to accomplish that. It is also important to understand that because you are getting your clients to come to you, they are prequalified before you even begin your relationship together.
Now it is time to really look at what modern marketing is all about:

The most important element in modern marketing
At the heart of modern marketing, which has a great deal to do with interactions through various social media channels, is the relationship itself. Without building meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships, you are finished before you even begin. When it comes to building a relationship, there are many different elements that must work together to make it a success. First of all, in any given relationship (whether it is a personal or a professional relationship), the two people must connect on an emotional/human level. That emotional connection includes past experiences and remembering a time when things felt really good. If that doesn't happen, they won't get anywhere with each other. Once it has been established that they were able to connect emotionally, they also have to have a certain amount of synergy when it comes to their core values and their ethics. Finally, they need to see things and want things in a similar manner. Of course, it goes without saying that they need whatever it is that you are selling as well. If you are able to make all of those things come together, you will be successful.

Building relationships

If you meet a person (through networking or another professional connection or event) and you feel that it will be worthwhile for the two of you to develop a relationship, you will naturally do so in two phases. First of all, you will establish your relationship together. Once you have succeeded at forming the relationship, you will build your relationship with the other person. That, of course, is the longer phase of the relationship. In fact, you will hope that the building phase of the relationship goes on forever. It is important to remember that complacency will never have a place in your relationship. Even after you have been able to establish your relationship and you then proceed with building that relationship, you must constantly work to improve that relationship. That is the case with all relationships. If you don't nurture the relationship, water it, give it sun, etc., it will not flourish!

Fortifying your relationships through your marketing materials
Just as you have different relationships with different people, you must also have different types of marketing materials to suit the various people with whom you are interacting. It is possible that each person will need customized material. After all, each person is different so why would you think that you can use "one size fits all" when it comes to the marketing material that you are sharing with them? There are several ways in which you can fortify your relationships including taking marketing content that worked for you in the past and customizing it to fit the needs of your online connections/clients, working with influencers who can offer benefits to your online connections/clients, and ensuring that you are genuine and sincere when you interact.

Conclusion

Interestingly, modern marketing and traditional ("Old School") marketing, although they appear very different, are basically similar at the core. In both cases, you are trying to educate other people about what you have to offer and you are ultimately trying to sell your products and/or services to other people in a way that doesn't make them think that you are trying to sell those offerings. It is important to remember to put the client's needs and wants above your own. If you think about them first, you are bound to be successful.

Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off shore development.

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