How will marketers gain influence in the future? Let’s start with a short lesson in physics:
The gravitational pull of relevant content and connection
All objects in the universe exert a gravitational force upon each other. This “pull” is the glue that holds galaxies together and the reason the planets orbit our Sun. The magnitude of the force that is exerted or experienced by any two objects depends on 1) the relative mass of each object and 2) the distance between them.
Relevant Content: A Massive Change for Marketers Mass is an interesting word. As a noun, its definition is “a coherent, typically large, body of matter with no definite shape,” basically a lump of stuff. As an adjective, it means “relating to, done by, or affecting large numbers of people or things,” as in mass media.
In the old, one-way, mass-media days of marketing communications, big businesses were the Sun that consumers relied upon for purchasing decisions. Being bigger meant the ability to push out more messages, and more messages meant a decisive advantage. But the Internet changed all that. Consumers and business-to-business purchasers educate themselves now, so it is relevance that carries more weight.
Today, the more relevant content you have, the more pull—regardless of the size of your business. In the world of physics, this is a direct, one-to-one relationship: If an object has 10 times more mass than another, it exerts 10 times the gravitational force…and the most relevant content triggers the third meaning of mass, the verb: “to cause to assemble into a mass or as one body.”
Drawing Customers Closer: How Engagement Leads to Influence Enter part two of our metaphor: The closer the distance between two objects, the greater the gravitational force. In fact, distance has more impact than mass: Shift the objects to be 10 times closer to each other and the gravitational force increases by a factor of 100!
How do you draw customers closer to your business? The answer is clearly multi-faceted and extends beyond the boundaries of traditional marketing departments. That's why the new leaders in marketing are broadening their universe and embracing two shifts: 1) Engagement is the doorway to influence, and 2) Influence is no longer the sole domain of marketers. And, in the process, they're discovering infinitely more possibilities.
This is where and how the future of influence takes shape…
1) It begins with respect and an understanding of how you connect with and benefit those whom you’re hoping to help.
2) Intent is defined by a genuine desire to evolve into a resource.
3) Genuine participation is a form of new marketing, but is not reminiscent of traditional marketing formats and techniques—it’s a new blueprint for “unmarketing.”
4) Meaningful content can earn the creator trust, authority and influence.
5) Conversations can forge relationships, which are measured by social capital and trust.
The rules of marketing are like the laws of gravity. So, ultimately, your marketing will have to become more meaningful. Because that future of influence Solis keeps talking about…well, it’s happening right now.
And, according to Solis, businesses face a choice: “Engage or die.”
How Much Gravitational Pull Does Your Marketing Have? At the outer reaches of our Solar System, an ice-covered world, shunned by astronomers as not even worthy of the name “planet,” orbits the sun once every 248 Earth years. While the inner-most planet, Mercury, named for the god of speed, is subject to a much greater gravitational force—orbiting the Sun at 108,000 miles per hour and completing its “year” in only 88 days.
Are your customers more like Mercury or Pluto? If your answer is “Houston, we have a problem,” start by listening and entering the conversation, then use your insights to engage potential customers with relevant content. As your business acquires more “reputational mass,” you’ll achieve greater influence and shorten sales cycles.