Fifty years ago, the idea of indirect marketing was a non-issue. Most marketing was direct in the form of brochures, mailers and TV ads. Indirect marketing was the exclusive realm of word-of-mouth networking.
Today, the marketing world has flipped. Internet groups, social media and text have given today’s marketer the opportunity to become masters of indirect marketing conversations, if they follow a few important rules.

Indirect, Online Marketing Works Better

Researchers of relationship theories and decision-making processes are finding that the conversations developed through indirect marketing channels work better than direct advertising does to promote positive brand awareness, consumer loyalty and higher customer engagement.
Indirect marketing is long term and relationship based. Direct advertising and coupon-based marketing has a binary nature where the consumer will either buy or create a negative purchasing belief that will remain until changed. In contrast, indirect marketing creates a long conversation that places the business at the center of a conversation that is beneficial to the consumer.

Social Media Marketing Is not Advertising

Yet most marketers still use social media marketing in a traditional advertising sense. Studies of the higher education industry show that although social media marketing is highly effective, most still use it as a traditional market technique. This is a mindset that the new generation of marketers must change.
Create social media conversations that follow the concepts of omnichannel marketing. Every interaction that your business generates should fit with its overall marketing communication across all media, including your website, direct advertising and customer service communication. Like any conversation, they must be designed to communicate in both directions.

Not All Generations Are the Same

It is no surprise that the younger generations are more adept at using online resources to interact with businesses. What is less understood by many marketers is that there is an important crossover between usages between generations that is dependent on the industry.
The banking industry has become renowned for rolling out a multitude of online-based resources that fit well within the indirect marketing environment. Younger clients tend to use online resources but are generally dependent on their parent’s knowledge of banking issues.
Create your indirect marketing platforms to be able to interact with multiple generations at the same time. Include functions like customer service chats and Facebook groups to cross several generations simultaneously.

Above All, Be Valuable

The single most important aspect of indirect, relationship marketing is that the customer must find value in the communication. This is idea focused, not product focused.
If your marketing manager does not have the necessary background to prove value to the consumers, then enroll that person in class. Moody’s offers some excellent online classes that will give your staff a solid understanding of business and marketing fundamentals that will improve your company’s marketing communication.

Be the Protagonist

An interesting new phenomenon of indirect marketing is the use of business-specific stories. These accounts can be given as a documentary, peer review or news piece, focusing on the overarching plot line but including the business as the protagonist.
These pieces paint the business in a positive light and induce a sleeper effect where non-targeted customers are ultimate purchasers. These protagonist tales last longer than direct marketing efforts, taking on a life of their own.

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