The marketing paradigm has experienced a dramatic shift because of the Internet. While marketing in the real world is an intrusive phenomenon, the online world has turned it completely upside down. And marketing in the digital domain has acquired significant importance due to several factors such as the advent of social media, the reach, the speed, the targeting capabilities and the low cost. But while the real world aims to push information in people’s faces all the time, this strategy cannot work in the online world. Now you might say that companies are pushing information all the time on the Internet. Yes, I agree. However, you, the customer, can always decide to log off.

That’s the big difference between the physical world and the online world. You cannot leave the real world. And by virtue of this, you are thrown in the midst of mountains of information that you have no choice but to trudge through. But the online world is different. You can decide when you want to enter it. And because of this one simple yet radical difference, it would bode well for marketers to treat you right. Because if they don’t, you can simply turn them off or block them or report them or just leave. That’s the power you wield online. So what can companies do to ensure that you, the customer, allow them to be a part of your life?

The best way for companies to get your attention is to engage you in meaningful conversations. But the biggest thing that companies should also realize is that these conversations won’t happen the way they want them. The conversations may assume a life of their own and go in any direction. But if the company tries to assert any type of control, the customers will be alienated. Freedom to express is the key to these conversations. And companies can benefit greatly if they can learn to listen to what the customers are trying to say. The one way communication that happens in the real world doesn’t work in the online space. It’s time the customers have their say as well.