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Internet has revolutionalized marketing arena

It has been said that the only constant we have is change. The field of marketing is not excluded. The Internet has brought, not just a change, but also a revolution in marketing our products and services.

I recently participated in a webinar, a live seminar attended in home through the audio and video on my computer. SCORE, a national organization of retired or nearly retired executives providing free consulting for small businesses, sponsored this particular webinar.

The presenter was John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, and it was very interesting. We all realize the importance of referrals, networking and word-of-mouth reference in today's marketing. What we may not realize is that we can and need to proactively create this "buzz" in the marketplace.

Jantsch quoted statistics that 77 percent of U.S. adults and 90 percent of young people in the workplace today use the Internet and we need to listen to what they are doing with it. Google alerts can be used to trigger activity on customer experiences, brand mentions, competition, accuracy, media stalking and content.

Just having a Web site is no longer sufficient; we need to have a Web system. Wikipedia defines customer relationship management is a broadly recognized, widely implemented, strategy for managing and nurturing a company's interactions with clients and sales prospects.

It involves using technology to organize, automate, and synchronize business processes - principally sales activities, but also those for marketing, customer service and technical support.

The overall goals are to find, attract and win new clients, nurture and retain those the company already has, entice former clients back into the fold and reduce the costs of marketing and client service. Once simply a label for a category of software tools, today, it generally denotes a company-wide business strategy embracing all client-facing departments and even beyond. When an implementation is effective, people, processes, and technology work in synergy to increase profitability, and reduce operational costs.

To increase chances of prospects recognizing our organization as a solution to their problems, we need to take advantage of social media outlets like Social Profiles, Blog Page, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Podcasts, and On-line Press Releases. Regular updates are critical. For example, we should put out a new press release at least once per month, Facebook and Blog updates once or twice a week, and short YouTube videos added once per month after the initial five or six are established. An investment in a small video camera with which you can capture customers relating their experience with your firm will pay large dividends.

We should remember that good communications have two elements of equal importance - sending and receiving.

Services are available to track conversations on the Internet around topics and brands and measure sentiment/engagement over time.

It is clear that the first step in revising your marketing plan is to listen to what your audience is actually saying about your brand, products/service or a business topic. Brand listening can form the base platform for strategic activity going forward.

Marketing is being revolutionized before our very eyes. The new marketing is dynamic, inexpensive and effective.

Louis Schultz, managing director of Process Management LLC, has assisted organizations worldwide with performance improvement. He currently assists area business owners as a SCORE counselor. E-mail him with questions or comments at lou@processman