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Last Thursday night, I beamed in via Skype to be one of the speakers at the 2015 Smarter Digital Regional Awards dinner at the Pike River Retreat, organised by Regional Development Australia, Murraylands and Riverland.

In her opening address, host Nicolle Jachmann, said the awards give us a chance to, ‘view the great work being undertaken by businesses and organisations in the Riverland who have risen to the challenge of embracing digital technology.’

And amid the interesting techniques and tools being highlighted that night, I was struck how simple use of tools like blogging can be very effective in bonding with your target markets, when you have a compelling story to tell.

Consumers have dived into their digital streams. Join them?

In my speech, I highlighted some of the trends in how consumers are using technology in their daily lives.

There was a gasp when I revealed that 61% of Australians would choose their mobile over their television; that really brings home how digital technology is luring our attention!

Let that sink in a little.

There is something locking in our attention via those little screens in our palms that is more addictive and attractive than television; a medium that has epitomised addiction for decades.

When your business or organisation starts to ‘get’ how much we are tied to our digital/social streams, then you can start behaving and responding appropriately, avoiding the dilemma of becoming that awkward, ‘square’ uncle at the party embarrassing yourself and everyone else by blabbering advertising talk.

People are attracted to people

My message was that all technology, from smart point of sale systems to regular blogging, should always be focussed on providing ‘value’ to the ‘humans’ you are trying to interact with.

This is why it was so heartening to hear this introduction when Kingston-On-Murray Caravan Park was announced as a finalist:

After a downturn in their business and a fitting presentation on Digital Media Strategies by Baker Marketing, Kingston-on-Murray Caravan Park implemented a number of digital and social media strategies which turned their business around in a matter of months to a 20% increase in business. With an existing website and a limited budget, they set about creating a strategy which incorporated the implementation of a regular blog, facebook page and electronic newsletter, which were successful in generating new connections with customers, increasing service levels and changing the perception of their brand. Having a ‘can do’ attitude, responding to email queries and customer interaction online promptly, in addition to creating an online booking facility has continued this high service focus and resulted in the business continually growing.

Apart from hearing our name mentioned, what was most satisfying was hearing that it was all about connecting with people through the sharing of their story and a commitment to responding to their audience’s needs.

So knowing where our attention is and becoming familiar with our habits and attractions is part of the challenge but I argued that technology can tempt us into playing a ‘numbers’ game, especially in this time of big data, and to think in terms of numbers instead of people.

Blog like people are reading

A common thread ran through the Smarter Digital Awards finalists, beautifully captured by Nicolle:

Through the innovative and smart use of technology the tyranny of distance can be negated, opening new doors and opportunities for population retention and attraction in regional areas. However those that do not embrace change, are at risk. Competitors are no longer just the shop next door or down the road, they can be located anywhere in the world.

My challenge to you this week is to reflect on how your marketing efforts via blogging and new technology will be received by your end users. Will they feel warmly drawn towards you or will it be a clinical, distant experience?

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