Whoever you are and whatever you do; it is not about how good you are and how good your songs, smiles, poems, door handles, decors, paintings, services and buns are.However, speaking about buns, you won’t gain much from the fact that they are known beyond your street and community. There is a chance that your buns will become a local attraction, so that every tourist will by all means drop in to taste them on the way to the art gallery. Still that tourist won’t be able to enjoy your buns for breakfast while at home.
If your activity is not very much dependant on time and location and you are not the sole service provider in the area, you certainly need advertising. If not advertising in its pure sense, then at least some efforts to make your business known beyond the circle of your actual clients, their friends and relatives.
There was a time when ads in the local newspaper would spread the word about you to everyone. Then came a time when you needed to bother about radio-coverage, publish a couple of leaflets, and, who knows, may be your city was big enough to have a TV channel.
Today, however, the issue of spreading information is not that simple. The thing is that the pool of information is bottomless. If you want to get your message through to me, for instance, it’s no use trying to do it with conventional advertising techniques. It was 1.5 years ago that I last saw a newspaper; I only occasionally come across a radio broadcast once in a couple of weeks; as for the television, I don’t watch it at all. And it’s not that I’m a snob who doesn’t care about the world around. The thing is that I don’t have time to follow all the information sources. And even if I did watch TV, how could one guess which of the dozens of channels I would pick that day. When there used to be only 3 TV channels, the term “information space” made some sense. But since their number saw an incredible increase, there have appeared numerous, practically isolated information spaces.
It’s true that some people can afford advertising through television, and radio, and newspapers and the Internet, but I’m going to focus on the latter. Just a year ago all you had to do is launch a site describing your services, spend a couple of dollars on Search Engine Optimization and contextual advertising (AdWords and such), and there would be no way for me to go past your message. But if you consider the amount of information digested by today’s users, it becomes quite clear that it is not enough anymore. Seriously, I use search engines by far less than I used to. And I haven’t been to the news sites for quite a time. The reason behind this is that I long ago realized what kind of information I need. So I get my daily portion of information from thoroughly selected RSS channels and social networks like Facebook and sometimes even MySpace. If I ran a business or targeted customers in another country I would have to master quite a different approach to social media, and have a presence in, say, Orkut for Brazil and India, LiveJournal for Russia, Hi5 for Columbia and Ecuador and so on.
What I’m driving at is that simply being on the web is not enough anymore; you’ve got to show up on the pages of MySpace and Facebook. For many these words have become synonyms to the Internet. A MySpace user may not be aware of what’s going on beyond it, to say nothing of the things that are not in the cyberspace.
Can you be everywhere? I’m not sure, just because I understand that MySpace and Facebook were designed for completely different types of people. The techniques you use to bring your message to people in one system won’t work for the other. Even if you spend a lot of time to get the essence of it. And there’s never enough time for everything, even if spreading information is all you do.
So you either have to put up with the fact that your ads only manage to get the message to the ever shrinking audience of conventional mass media, or you’ve got to hire specialists in the new types of media. Not just the media that have already won their million audiences, but also the emerging ones. The thing is that the interests and preferences of those important for you decision makers can unpredictably and radically change in just months. They can turn to those new types of media that only a handful of specialists and enthusiasts are aware of today.
Just mentioning among other things that you have been at MySpace since 2003 can be very rewarding. Or how about getting to know in 2011 that quite a half of your clients learned about you from a site that will only launch its public beta testing tomorrow?
As for us, we already have our private beta invitation to the Next Big Thing of the internet, no matter which site happens to be the one.