The War for Your Business Future Is On

April 19, 1775: The shot was fired that was heard ’round the world.

At the Battles of Concord and Battle Road in Massachussetts, the British met a surprising militia formation of American farmers. The Redcoats marched in plain view while colonial minutemen hid behind every house, tree and fencepost.

The score: Americans lost 93, but the British lost 273. It was a humiliating start to a war they would eventually lose.

As my friend Perry Marshall would say….that’s Guerrilla Warfare, my friend. Traditional warfare is “playing by the rules,” but Guerrilla warfare means re-defining the rules, even as the game is being played. It’s tossing conventional wisdom out the window and becoming your opponent’s unseen enemy.

Every week I talk to people who are sick and tired of playing by the rules, and not winning nearly as much as they could or should.

They’re sick of pulling that black checkbook out of their top desk drawer, giving money to some media rep and not knowing if that money is coming back, when it’s coming back, or how they’ll ever know.

But the game is shifting…and the battlefield is CHANGED. Are you ready?

The amount U.S. companies spend marketing themselves on social networking sites like Facebook is expected to grow from an estimated $4.5 billion last year to nearly $38 billion by 2015, according to a new report from Borrell Associates Inc.

More than 1.5 million local businesses participate in social networks, and they accounted for about half of all spending on social-network marketing last year, the report said.

The amount U.S. companies spend marketing themselves on social networking sites like Facebook is expected to grow from an estimated $4.5 billion last year to nearly $38 billion by 2015, according to a new report from Borrell Associates Inc.

More than 1.5 million local businesses participate in social networks, and they accounted for about half of all spending on social-network marketing last year, the report said.

“Given their unique ability to move messages among connected users, social networks have been irresistible to marketers looking for ways to deliver advertising and promotional messages,” the report said. “The results to date have been breathtaking.”

Borrell projects spending on social networking marketing will jump 68 percent this year alone, to $7.5 billion, with 11 cents of every online marketing dollar earmarked for such efforts. Five years from now, Borrell thinks social networking will capture one-third of all online marketing spending.

An increasing proportion of that spending will be on promotional campaigns rather than advertising, the consulting firm projects. While 88 percent of social networking marketing spending in 2009 went into advertising, that percentage is expected to drop about 50 percent in 2010 and 36 percent by 2015.

Profiling engines on Facebook identify user demographics and interests, allowing advertisers to target ads in specific ways, including age, gender, relationship status, education level, workplace, interests and connection to an advertisers’ Facebook page.

In a report published by Borrell Associates, “Social Networking Explosion: Ad Revenue Outlook,” includes a case study of a marketing campaign used to promote a comic-book convention in South Florida using ads on both Facebook and local cable television.

The Facebook campaign involved buying 54 separate keywords including “pokemon,” “batman” and “comic books,” and creating an ad campaign for each using unique images tailored to the interests of each targeted group.

The Facebook campaign didn’t generate as many ticket sales as the local cable television ads, because they had a smaller audience. But the cost of marketing per attendee was lower — 54 cents, compared to $2 for the television ads, the report said.

“The time it takes to manage this kind of campaign is considerably larger than the time it takes to manage one ad that reaches a mass market, the report concluded.

Although the Facebook advertising platform is an effective way to reach people, the study concluded that promotional campaigns that create “organic” impressions may be more persuasive.

“Share this” and “Like” buttons from Facebook encourage people that are on a brand’s website to share the content of that site with their friends on their profile pages. When users share content generated by businesses or service providers, they expose friends to a brand with an an implicit endorsement, the study said.

So….what to do about this? We can’t go backwards and we can’t retreat. It’s a war after all. A war for your clients, a war for your company’s future.

We’re here to help you win the war. Give us a call today and we’ll help you design a winning social media strategy.

Source: Perry Marshall, Inman News, Borrell Associates

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