Businesses are on a constant mission to promote their brand, product or service, and social channels have become an inextricable part of that broadcast. Unfortunately, the noise these platforms create can often be more overwhelming than helpful for consumers, challenging marketers to develop a more personalized approach to communication.

Connecting with Consumers

Out of necessity, much of marketing has shifted away from the “one message fits all” approach to something a bit more agile–a message that is content-focused and powered by the customers themselves.

In order to achieve such a level of collaboration with their customers, companies will have to start off by embracing social media and their content as a means of conversation–not just a broadcasting method.

A number of platforms are attempting to establish their place in this new market by providing solutions that connect businesses directly with their customers without revealing that connection to the rest of the general public (like on Twitter or Facebook). In a recent infographic, Crowdtap illustrates what they’re calling the third wave of social marketing, and highlights interesting finds such as:

  • In five years, the number of people who have provided ideas to brands has increased 35%
  • 70% of people feel most loyal to brands that listen to feedback
  • 64% of people are likely to purchase a product they helped ideate
  • Brand advocates spend twice as much as your typical customer

Establishing a Collaborative Relationship

Once companies have that connection, the next step is to build a relationship. Companies must give their customers an opportunity to provide insight into their likes and dislikes and their preferred method of communications. From there, the company’s marketing team can begin to build a customer’s individual profile.

In other words, after connection, the key is commitment. In a world based highly on instant gratification, it’s easy to abandon notions just as quickly as you adopted them if they fail to show results in the first quarter. But because marketing has become just as much about relationships as it is about messaging, a marketer must be willing to be in it for the long haul.

With each small success, brands can develop a deeper relationship with consumers and build a long-term asset that will drive increasing value.

This doesn’t mean companies should pour their full budget into the concept of collaborative marketing. Rather, the money they do commit needs to be focused on ongoing initiatives that start to shift thinking to a collaborative approach. These initiatives can be tested, reviewed and optimized, but success must be evaluated in the context of a long-term solution.

It’s Business and Personal

Even though we are flying into the future of marketing at full speed, we should make note that our destination is basically a new and improved version of the “good old days.” Digitally, we’re finding our way back to the time when one could go into a small neighborhood shop and the clerk behind the counter would say, “Hey there, Sue! Will it be the usual for you today?”

Businesses back then really knew their customers, and could successfully suggest new offerings based on that knowledge. That same intimacy is what the collaborative future of marketing will be looking to achieve.

Best yet? Because developing platforms are making the future of marketing so personal and direct, there will be a lot less noise to wade through in general. With such technology available, world communication is becoming, once again, very personal, and the companies that will make it through this transition will be the ones that are expanding collaboration by bringing their very customers into the process. Relevancy will be achieved by improving both products and messaging alongside consumers, not behind a curtain.

The collaborative marketing future has arrived, and it’s going to be a fun ride.