First published September 14, 2008
Traditional marketing is still very much with us in K-12 publishing. Because of the institutional nature of our market, we still operate in “push” mode with direct mail, outbound sales, either in person or by phone, conferences, etc. For most K-12 publishers, sending occasional customer emails and offering online webinars and demos is as Web 2.0 as it gets. For educational publishers, it is still very much about filling the sales funnel moving prospects to customers through a multi-step process.
But even in educational publishing, this traditional model is giving way to something new. In traditional sales, the company was in charge of moving the process forward, and in the Web 2.0 world, the new driver is the customer.
The way we shop has changed dramatically whether we’re looking for general product information or have determined to buy a particular print or electronic educational product. The customer is now firmly in control of how product information reaches them. They find it through search engines, online community recommendations, and through exploration of multiple sites.
How does this affect individual companies and their offerings?
It means that interested prospects can compare and contrast your products and services without ever actually talking to someone in your company. You might be out of the game before getting in the game.
The Web 2.0 shift also means that by the time you have the opportunity to interact with a prospect, they know a lot more about you than you know about them, and they are much further into the sales process than they have been in the past. Some have estimated that now the first 75% of the sales process is conversation. The availability of information means that a significant part of the “conversation” or “information gathering” is done before you get to participate in the conversation.
Over the next few posts, we will explore how “new” marketing is shaping how we gather information, share information, and distribute information with our peers, competitors and prospects.