The online world: How much easier (and profitable) marketing has become

lake michigan
Chicago at dusk; a look towards the Lake Michigan waterfront from our hotel

Sometimes marketing opportunities happen with serendipity. As Vivian and I walked down Michigan Ave. in Chicago, we happened on the art-deco Lake-Michigan Building, one of several impressive art deco structures in the area (this building traces its roots to 1927 — just before the Great Depression, and originally was the midwest home for the NBC Broadcasting network.

We walked into the lobby to view the art deco design, and discovered signs announcing the new American Writers Museum. The security guard obliged that most people who had accidentally discovered this museum left the building telling him they were impressed with it, and since we both have earned our living by moving words around as writers all our lives, we decided to spontaneously visit it.

It isn’t a large museum; just one floor of the old building. But it had some fun interactive exhibits and for me, the highlight was the opportunity to sit at an old (or at least a replica old) manual portable typewriter, feeding paper into the carriage roll, and typing out text without even the hint of electronics.

As I typed, memories flooded my mind, because this experience replicated my writing process way back when, in the 1979 in Africa, as I generated stories about the Rhodesia civil war. And the experience reminded me how much easier it is to write and communicate today than it has ever been in the past (and the implications for marketing.)

Consider these points (with credits to Seth Godin and Mark Mitchell for some inspiration):

You can spend a fraction of the dollars for a magnificent multiplier in results.

With a modest amount of effort, you can self-build a reasonably good website for free and host it for just a few dollars a month (if you want it on your own domain, which is highly recommended). Even if you contract professional services to do this, you will only need to spend a few hundred dollars as a one-time fee. And even if you decided to spend serious cash on professional services requiring ongoing maintenance, most businesses would find the fees to be less than they dumped into Yellow Pages advertising in bygone years.

You can measure everything, and constantly improve and enhance your results by assessing the measurements.

If anything, online marketing permits you to track the details with so much intensity you might get lost in the details. But you can certainly quickly track which pages and entries are attracting the most results, observe the trends in social media, and change course where it is required.

You can achieve multiple sensory impressions, and direct the message with laser focus at the audience you really wish to reach.

Photographic and video connecting — even live broadcast feeds — now can be set up on your cell phone, almost instantly, and transmitted. And you can set/narrow your demographics quite closely through social media and targeted eletters/communications.

We’re achieving a degree of stability in online marketing; you can catch the rhythm without panicking about the next great thing.

As Seth Godin has reported, after a decade of almost torrid change, the online marketing world has stabilized.

A Moment in Time

?In many ways, the most disruptive parts of the marketing revolution have slowed down. Email is a constant, text is a constant, online comments, ubiquitous video, so much for free, all the time?

It used to be that you?d pick up a copy of?Wired?or?Fast Company?(back when we used to pick up a magazine) and the latest shift in the marketing ecosystem was enough to set you back on your heels. We?ve seen the rise of online shopping, of smartphones and most of all, of everything on, all the time.

It was easier to wait just a little bit longer. No real point in learning stuff now if it was just going to change?

But now we?ve reached a moment of calm, where the new ways are now the standard ways.

What a perfect moment to take a deep breath and figure it out. Now, when we have some firm footing when we can see what?s happened and make some smart guesses about what?s going to happen next.

Most of all, though, it?s worth learning because your work is too important to let languish.?

?? Seth Godin

At least for now, we can enjoy some peace of mind that we won’t need to reinvent our strategies on the fly.

At the writer’s museum, I took my brief recollection missive about writing on the manual typewriter and posted it on the wall. Things have changed. They are easier and more effective than they ever were. Yet some skills and talents and abilities don’t change that much. If you are a great writer/marketer/communicator, you are living in the golden age. If you are a business owner simply looking for effective marketing, you can obtain the services and power with contracted services at a fraction of the cost and a multiple of the effectiveness of the marketing world 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.

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