Conversations now take place in a virtual, always on, environment. Recommendations that used to be said word-of-mouth are now talked about on blogs or twitter. Complaints, that if heard, were filed through a returns or customer service department. Communication has changed and us, as a society tune out most of the other messages through some form of technology. You know what I mean, think about what's in your living room or in your car.
I found a great blog article yesterday discussing the change of the conversation. It has two great quotes, "Facebook’s Mr Zuckerberg, for example, describes the greater openness he believes his firm and others like it are bringing to human interactions as “probably the greatest transformative force in our generation, absent a major war.” Mr Stone, for his part, reckons Twitter “is something important that has the potential to change the world, though we have a long way to go.” Those are very bold statements, from some extremely influential people that have enabled the conversation to be moved.
The computer is the point of contact with this virtual world we call the Internet. In the last 10 years computers have become so fast, yet so affordable and small, that it has changed how we communicate. You can now have conversations with people you never could have before. The marketing messages that used to work don't or do not make sense financially. Your target customer is on the Internet. If you can't find it on the Internet then you must have a very original product or idea. So knowing that they're on the Internet, using a computer or smartphone, you have to have a presence.
What that presence is depends greatly on where they're located. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of different ways your target could be communicating on the Internet. They could be doing research, trying to buy something, looking for a phone number, address, leaving a blog comment, rating a product, you get the picture. There's a lot of information out there that we all need and want to get, but how can you listen to all of these conversations and then begin a conversation with them. You first have to find your customer and the easiest way to do this is to go to Google or Bing and search phrases that describe your product or service. You will instantly see who your competitors are, what people are talking about and start to learn where they're talking. This is the first of many steps you need to take to change the way you market to your customers and prospects.