The New Practice of Marketing
Marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50. The marketing palette includes so many channels, media and platforms that it’s easy to get caught up in tactics. But at its core, it’s still about knowing your customer and reaching them in ways that delight and please. The dramatic shift that has occurred is one that consumers now expect to interact with brands on their own terms. As we continue to evolve in the digital universe, there are two areas that will be even more important to modern marketing; content and social marketing. They are important on their own, but are deeply interconnected and can only fulfill on their potential in tandem. Together, they are primary contributors to an overarching goal of delivering a better, more profitable member experience.
There are three essential ingredients to an effective social marketing practice; listening to consumers, communicating with them and ultimately placing a value on these interactions.
Content-based marketing is not simply another channel; it represents part of the shift in power from the marketer to the market, from push to pull. As paid media efficiency steadily erodes, the potential for inbound marketing has grown along with the role of search and online research in the member journey. The approach to content and its role in the future should be an area of strong investment for fitness organizations. Content marketing as part of the industry’s media mix continues to grow, and should be a permanent part of an organization’s acquisition and retention strategy.
The term “social marketing” tries to capture a variety of activities and capabilities. Many are simply public relations wrapped in the authenticity of a social platform, others are directly promotional and some are a nuanced combination of customer service and marketing. Most organizations will see social activity from all of these buckets.
Still many brands find it challenging to extract value from these social interactions, to understand their influence and to define the role of social in their marketing strategy. Perhaps the most challenging element of all things social is tracking and determining the financial benefit. Social interactions with brands are very often early or mid-funnel activities, so their contribution to sales can be murky. But attention and investment have given rise to a number of different approaches to valuing the social relationship. Social listening and reputation management have become increasingly popular as means to monitoring the medium. Your brand should have a framework for assigning value to social marketing. Engaging with the question and agreeing on measurement methodology is an important step.
With a growing value put on social and content marketing and a shifting consumer base that is choosing how they interact, the time is now to make your mark in this media. Ask yourself: How are you going to establish your fitness center in this versatile media?
Vanessa Hobson is the marketing director of Epsilon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-900-3600.