It’s easy to think that a lot of today’s marketing is now happening online. That’s not just because of all the online ads you see or the prevalence of mobile apps. Generating targeted sales leads in the B2B market requires you to use more and more online resources as well. You blog to increase thought leadership. You use data in order to optimize your content. It’s even possible that you’re using cloud-based technologies as part of your CRM process!
Upon closer inspection though, the differences between some tactics of consumer and big business marketing could indicate something bigger: an answer to the growing internet hive mind.
Let’s look at exactly what really makes the two different. For consumer marketers, nothing spells success like viral. You get mass Likes on Facebook, mass reTweets, and crowds of people lining up at your stores because of you used social media to announce some big sale.
On the other hand, this type of mass marketing can easily convert into mass manipulation. Just recently on Forbes, Kashmir Hill reported that Facebook deliberately conducted this as an experiment, manipulating the emotions of over 600,000 unsuspecting users. The report goes as far as to cite the head researcher’s claim that emotions on social media can be akin to a psychological contagion.
That’s certainly an interesting way to describe how the internet can act like a hive mind sometimes. It’s also a scary way to show how bad that actually sounds. A few dangers of this type of hive mind include:
- Loss of information control – It may be better to be more transparent but putting control of information in the hands of an anonymous collective can come at the cost of facts too. Ever seen a game of ‘Pass the Message’? That’s how it can do just as much damage by mixing fact with fiction. Processing targeted sales leads helps you tackle each customer individually, one-on-one, with a stronger capacity to root out excessive popular opinion.
- Bigger angry mobs – Forget Anonymous, just look at what the Instagram community did to Adam Richman of Man VS Food. One slight misuse of a hashtag and bam, instead social media mayhem. What’s arguably more aggravating though is that it demonstrates how an angry mob of any size can blow the slightest hiccups out of proportion. To fix this, you need a sales process that can really hold this mob at bay and keep problems strictly between you and the customer.
- Too much anonymity – Speaking of which, handling your sales leads by the crowd (against handling them as single, targeted prospects) is like scooping up needless small fry when you’re supposed reel in the big fish. The former sounds easier at first but that’s only because you forget you still have to throw the small fry back into the water. Likewise, you need to manually filter out feedback that is truly worth it from what’s just plain noise from anonymous posters.
With all the high-speed communication that happens online, that might have come with the downside of having zero patience for actually evaluating a conversation. In this regard, looking to the hive mind of the internet to determine the fate of your marketing campaign is just asking for trouble. Use targeted sales leads to keep the conversation between yourself and an individual sales prospect instead of the hive.