Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mind-Blowing Facts About What You're Doing Now - Who Else is Doing It - And Why It's Important.

** Not a month goes by when I'm asked, "Don't you think Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and blogging will fizzle out?" – or – "How can these sites really grow my business or help me find a job?"

** Let me direct your attention to a spectacular video. While it's impossible to apply a "one-size-fits-all" marketing and PR solution for every person and business on the planet - the short video on this page will hammer away to latecomers - and believe me, there are still many - why their social media train has left the station. (Meanwhile, if you're looking to advance your career - new data shows that 95% of companies now use Linked In to find the best job seekers in America.)

** More than 50% of the world's population is under 30. The all-important 18-34 demographic that's so attractive to advertisers – has blown past the number of Baby Boomers born from 1945-1964. Some of these "Generation Y and Z New Millennials" – (roughly born from 1979 to 1992) – are already in their early 30s with money stuffed in their pockets, ready to buy homes, cars and new gadgets. These people have long abandoned "e-mail" (they prefer texting) -- because e-mail is "so yesterday." Click below.

** Pretty strong stuff. This video was produced by XPLANE, a Portland-, St. Louis- and Madrid-based firm that bills itself as "The Visual Thinking Company" – in conjunction with the release of a new book called "Socialnomics." I've seen some of XPLANE's work and its ability to create films which display facts and figures in a dynamic way - makes Powerpoint animations look positively Jurassic. Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod of XPLANE created this video, using theme music by Fatboy Slim ("Right Here Right Now," 1999).

** Being from the "old school" of news, marketing and public relations – I must confess that for the longest time, I DID think social media was a fad. I thought my methods to advance my career - or to market and publicize my clients - were sufficient. I'm good at it and I've been in news and public relations for more than just a coffee break.

** But since 2007, I've done a complete "180" on social media. It DOES matter, BIG TIME. Individual job seekers and businesses, large and small - that have the best chance of survival - will be those that have figured out how to tame social media, customizing and integrating a sophisticated mix of mainstream and guerrilla marketing and PR techniques - to promote their products, services and skills.

** During the past several months, viral social media campaigns have been at the center of controversies, e.g., BP or British Petroleum's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Proctor & Gamble's defense of its new disposable diaper - as well as being responsible for happy stories that would've been unthinkable five years ago, e.g., actress Betty White's recent appearance as guest host of "Saturday Night Live" and Justin Halpern's new book about his 74-year-old San Diego dad in "S*** My Dad Says."

** Simply put, traditional media marketing may still matter, but far less so than at any other time during the past 100 years. As noted in the video – and in one of my earlier posts – of the 25 largest newspapers in the U.S. - all but one have dropped circulation. (The exception being the Wall Street Journal.) Does anyone still believe these 24 free-falling papers have a chance to regain subscribers and advertisers – in what still looks like a mostly "jobless recovery?"

** When I wrote the first version of this post a couple of years ago, one of Southern California's largest papers, The Orange County Register, declared bankruptcy. Since then, the San Diego Union-Tribune has been sold, the Rocky Mountain News and Seattle Post-Intelligencer have folded, Business Week has become Bloomberg Business Week and Newsweek Magazine is up for sale.

** The death spiral of newspapers, magazines, telephone books and the Yellow Pages continues. It began when Amazon, eBay and Craigslist pounded a stake into the hearts of printed classified advertising, creating a domino effect against all traditional forms of advertising - as consumers fled to the Web for rich and "real-time" content. The Web is now the first place people go to research what to buy and to learn what people are saying about any job-seeker, product or service -- because we trust word-of-mouth recommendations WAY more than paid advertising.

** Merchants are spending their ad dollars elsewhere. Movie showtimes - an advertising staple for newspapers - began disappearing in 2009. Regal Entertainment and AMC, the largest movie exhibitors in the U.S., have pulled their ads from selected dailies. As newspaper circulations fall through the floor, patrons are still showing up because they're getting their movie showtimes from the web.

** While I believe customers will continue to make their biggest purchases or hiring decisions in person, most will "kick your tires" online first. Thus if you DON'T have a branding or personal Linked In presence online – and incredibly, many companies and job seekers still DON'T - who's going to take you seriously? More than ever, you risk losing your name and personal brand to competitors who've had an online presence for years.

** Among the leaders in the social media revolution is the guy behind "Socialnomics," a book released recently that was written by Erik Qualman, a 38-year-old Detroit-native who spent most of this decade working for AT&T, Yahoo, Earthlink and Travelzoo – before turning himself into a columnist and author. Qualman's talks and interviews from coast-to-coast - combined with his popular blog - have firmly established his name as one of the top doyens of social media marketing in America.

** Mr. Qualman, and people like him – believe many of the conventional marketing and branding ideologies – pioneered by legendary advertising executive David Ogilvy – are now outdated. Qualman targets his messages about social media at professionals who are still having a tough time getting their arms around it. ("Listen first, then sell," he says -- and not the other way around.) In the process, he's helping individuals and businesses learn the rules of engagement for marketing and PR in the 21st century.

** In the end, traditional advertising in newspapers, magazines, brochures and direct mail – won't be COMPLETELY replaced. But you must remember that a whopping 78 percent of consumers surveyed - still trust word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals about products, services and your own personal marketability - over traditional ads and resumes. (According to Socialnomics, only 14 percent trust traditional ads.) Job seekers and business leaders still operating under old paradigms, failing to grasp the importance of NEW data about NEW media – are taking unnecessary risks. If this updated video doesn't sway the last stalwarts to get off the fence about social media - with greater urgency and conviction – then nothing will.

** Consider this. Don't have website or blog? Strike one. Don't have a social media presence? Strike two. Don't have an online presence at all? Strike three.

(Original material © 2009-2012 by David Kusumoto Communications.)


  1. Social media reaches such a huge age range as well, my nieces are 9 & are on Facebook. They are already so more tech savvy than even their parents & they are able to navigate around the web with no problems at all.

    Also, the next big icon to fall will be commercial radio, unless it can adapt to the new social media & technologies.

    We have now entered very different times indeed.

  2. Absolutely! But isn't it usually the case that younger generations have an almost scary ability to grasp and adapt to new things more readily, more instinctually than everyone else? I know we ourselves once had this ability over our own parents, but off-hand I can't think of any specific applications that are good examples. I'm still frustrated (but not outdueled) by clock radios that flash "12:00" repeatedly after an outage -- or programming a flat panel TV to get all available channels.

    My brother-in-law cannot figure out, for example, online banking. So he lets his 12-year old son pay his bills while he sits with him on the computer, going over his bank account. Amazing!