Everyone loves a good before and after photo…. but have we adapted as well to the before and after of marketing? Because when it comes to marketing, the times have changed.

Before, you relied on good onsite customer service, now customer service includes a consistent social media presence. And cold calling might just be on its way out (finally).

Here are three cornerstones of marketing that have transitioned from traditional to modern marketing, welcoming a new age of digital marketing, and the best practices that will help your company stand out from the crowd.

Before: Customer Service, After: Social Media Management

The foundations of customer service are still the same: listen to the customer, the customer is always right, and always follow up. Other than that, though, everything has changed. Where your customers expect service has changed, too.

When your customers or prospective customers have a question or -- hopefully not -- a problem, one of the first things they’ll do is perform a web search or reach out to your social media platforms for an answer at any time, 24/7.

And if no one’s listening? You’re in trouble.

Comcast social media feed

Consider the example above, some results after a brief Twitter search for people mentioning @Comcast. It’s overwhelmingly negative. But when you look a little further, you will find various Comcast Twitter brand representatives reaching out to customers, trying to figure out a solution. Brands large and small are using social media to grow and satisfy their consumer base using social media as customer service.

Before: Sales Calls, After: Blogging

The best news about digital marketing is in the lead generation process. Instead of interruptive content like TV ads and cold calls, content marketing and information-as-a-service is all about letting the customer seek out your services and self-select into your lead generation funnel.

This process looks a lot like what you yourself might do when researching a customer or new business.

Say you’re looking for a new print and business card partner, but you’re not sure if you want one in town or a national brand. Before you even perform a web search for “Richmond, VA printers,” your first step might be performing a web search for “Local versus national printer?” to help you make up your mind (this is a trend that Google is seeing in web searches).

And what’s the first return for that search? This blog post from Paragon Printers, “Business Cards. To buy local or online?” A recent, detailed post about how you can get a high-quality business card from a small business for the same cost or less than a cheap business card from VistaPrint.

Without a cold call or direct mailer, this company has created a path for someone seeking printer services to find their business, they’ve talked them into using a local or small business alternative, and their contact information is right there with the article.

How’s that for generating a lead with your website?

Before: Advertiser Demographics, After: KPIs

Back in the day, advertising was about the one-way streets of print, radio, and TV. Many advertising companies are still stuck in that rut. That means the important numbers weren’t about you, they were about the advertiser, including demographics and viewership statistics.

In the new world of digital marketing, the tables have turned. The statistics you want to track are the ones about your company, the key performance indicators that will tell you how your business is doing. Instead of focusing on what advertisers can do for your brand, you’re monitoring these three important indicators against your own past performance:

  • How your audience finds your website
  • Where your customers live
  • What technology users use to access your site

Digital marketing is about meeting your customer in a new space: using your website, your content, and your social media presence to be available and informative, 24/7.

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