It feels like marketing has been changing at the speed of light in the last couple of years. Technology has evolved and with it new tools have been developed that allow business owners to communicate better, faster and more intimately than ever with their target markets. This is a good thing for those who know how to use it to their advantage. It can be a bad thing for those who do not.

So what kind of tools are we talking about in a 2.0 world? That would be digital and social media. This includes things like Blogs, Wiki, Facebook, YouTube, Consumer Generated Media, Twitter, LinkedIn, PURLs (personalized urls), podcasts, mobile marketing, RSS feeds and mash ups to name but a few. And what we know about it today is going to change tomorrow. But the premise for using this type of media is the same as the old familiar kinds such as print ads, TV, radio and the like. Always match the media and the message to the strategy you are seeking to implement. And always, always match the strategy to the overarching goal for the business. If you stick to those two simple rules, you will have no trouble navigating the 2.0 world. For Baby Boomers like me, it is great to know that at least one thing hasn’t changed!

When you begin planning your social media strategy, I recommend using a model developed by Forrester Research. The model is called P.O.S.T. and helps you remember to consider the important elements necessary for a successful digital-centered marketing strategy.

P is for People. Know the capabilities of your audience before launching a campaign. Don’t start without thinking about this. Or better yet, do a bit of research and find out.

O is for Objectives. What do you want to accomplish? Are you starting an application to collaborate with customers, or to listen to them, or to energize them to market virally for you? Decide on the objective before picking a technology. Then figure out how you are going to measure it.

S is for Strategy. What is going to be different as a result of doing this? Imagine what the endpoint will be. When you do that, you will know where to begin.

T is for Technology. Choose the technology when you have made an honest effort with the above mentioned elements. You can choose with more confidence and less anxiety about wasting time and money.

Marketing in the 2.0 world can be fun, exciting and rewarding for you, your firm and your customers.

(Source: Suzanne Barnett, SBDC Valdosta State University Office)