2010 February: Marketing Matters

New Year’s Eve rang in more than a fresh year. It also rang in the ascent of the “Net” generation (they’re the ones wielding Blackberries). They now outnumber Baby Boomers — and your marketing will need to adapt quickly.

In a recent conversation with Eric Qualman, a social media expert and author of the book Socialnomics, I was bombarded with reams of undeniable statistics, all of which pointed to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for nimble business owners.

For example, radio took 38 years to arrive at 50 million listeners. TV hit that same milestone in 13 years. Shockingly, the internet added 50 million in 4 years, while Facebook added 100 million users in just 9 months! If Facebook were a country, it would be the fourth most populated country on Earth.

Check out these stats:
? 96 percent of 18 to 34 year olds belong to some type of social network
? 1 out of 8 marriages in the U.S. last year were the result of meeting “online”
? 86 percent of purchases are influenced more by friends than by advertising.

Broadly speaking, if you have 1,000 customers, half of them are most likely “Generation Y”. Of that number, 96 percent of them –– or 480 — belong to a social network of some kind. Most likely Facebook, Myspace or Twitter.

The average Facebook member has 120 “friends.” Here’s where it gets interesting. 480 customers on Facebook x 120 “friends” = 57,600. Your reach is staggering. Now, certainly there will be a lot of overlap. Many of your customers share the same friends. But still, these numbers should give you goose bumps.

Keep in mind that Facebook and Twitter are not venues on which to advertise. Social etiquette is key. You’ll kill the opportunity by using “offline” advertising. Instead, understand “why” people are on Facebook and Twitter.

Your Facebook page, for example, should be more about you and a little bit about your restaurant. It’s “Bob” who enjoys skiing, has three kids, two dogs and loves to cook. That’s why you opened “Bob’s Pizza” over on Main Street. Get it?

People love doing business with people they know. It actually makes people feel important to “know” the owner. They could really care less about the “business.” They are on Facebook to socialize with you.

Then there’s YouTube. A whopping 70 percent of 18 to 34 year olds watch TV on the Web, and YouTube is now the second largest search engine in the world. At last year’s Pizza Expo, I scanned the audience with a camcorder and then broadcast the video to them from YouTube within 5 minutes. They marveled at the ease and rapidity of going “live” to the world.

How would you use this? Simple. There’s a children’s party at your pizzeria. You take a few minutes of video and post it to YouTube. But you also embed the video on your Web site. Then you walk out with a laptop and show the kids. What will those kids do the minute they get home? That’s right: text every single friend they know and send them to your Web site.

The internet has unleashed the biggest revolution in mass communication since the advent of the printing press. This year, the balance of marketing power tilts quietly back to the small business owner. As Qualman puts it: “This is the biggest shift in the human experience since the industrial revolution.” ?

Kamron Karington
owned a highly successful independent pizzeria before becoming a consultant, speaker and author of The Black Book: Your Complete Guide to Creating Staggering Profi ts in Your Pizza Business. He is a monthly contributor to Pizza Today.

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