For a variety of well documented reasons previously outlined in this forum, I have been giving a lot of thought to the evolution of the stationery industry. I suppose that most of you have too!
There is no reason to think that my views are any better than others looking at the same crystal ball, but I am convinced that internet marketing will change radically over the next twelve months. From my perspective, few vendors fully appreciate the significance of the changes that have taken place in internet marketing strategies following Google’s release of the Penguin and Panda search algorithm. In fact, many of our vendors are pursuing internet strategies that may have been relevant two to three years ago, but hardly make sense today. In fact, it may help to explain some of the silly decisions that have occurred recently.
There is no reason why any of this should make sense to you – or be of particular interest – but if you are relying on your vendors to make the “right” decisions to support your business strategy, forget it! They don’t have a clue. Their online marketing strategies are likely to be counterproductive and eventually destructive to their brand.
Social engagement has become far more important to promote your brand and business and many new tools are emerging that can help you do so without relying on your vendors for support. In fact, with a little effort experienced dealers can become an authority spokesperson in their local market and/or market niche by focusing on quality and excellence and disseminating the message efficiently through proper social channels.
Right now, I do not have the time – or energy – to share all of these great new developments with you, but several things appear evident:
- Google + will become a far more important marketing platform than Facebook within the next 12 to 18 months;
- Twitter is no longer a useful platform for social engagement and to promote your brand;
- Scoop.It and Pinterest are far more relevant – and fun – resources to promote your business;
- Curated content – which can be automated through RSS feeds – is far more timely and relevant than blogging;
- Vendors should be paying dealers to promote their brand rather than obliging us to purchase their albums.
In short, brands that want to be perceived as having value to the consumer should work with their existing dealers to encourage them to promote their brands online. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, but few Vendors realize it today. I suspect that most won’t wake up until it is too late, but dealers have the time to act. Will they?
Founding Member Stationers Guild