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Marketing Is Dead. The New Way Is Called “Relationships.”


Marketing is not getting harder and harder. It’s actually getting easier and easier. The problem is that many business owners try to do marketing in a way that worked well 60 years ago, but doesn’t work at all today.

Why has marketing changed so much?

What is this new, simpler way to market your business and how do you go about doing it?

Below, I’ll explain the answer to these questions. I hope you’ll never think of marketing the same way again.

Marketing Then vs. Now

Marketing Then

In the “bad ol’ days” of business (before the age of globalization and the internet), the most you ever needed to do was “advertise”—which means you simply let everyone know what you do. You put up a billboard that told consumers you sell mattresses and you did it in a certain area of town.

If anyone needed a mattress and they were close to that area of town, they might then go to you. If you did business in a trustworthy manner, you earned a reputation for being a business of integrity, thus bringing you more sales.

It wasn’t so important to stand out because you only had so many competitors who could cater to your target market which was in your immediate geographical vicinity. Consumers chose your business over your competitors probably due to:

  • Referrals from friends or family who had done business with you before.
  • The ad they saw first or most frequently.
  • The business closest to their home.
  • The brand that resonated with them because of something arbitrary like the business name, brand colors, slogan, or even the face they saw on the advertisement.

Therefore, if you wanted to have a successful business before the age of the internet, you:

  • Advertised your name in as many places as possible.
  • Were a business of integrity so that your satisfied customers gave you referrals.

Marketing Now

Today, marketing your business is a totally different animal. Consumers are not limited to buy from the business that is located closest to them, nor are they impressed just by the fact that you sell what they need. In this day and age, they can buy from almost anywhere, so why should they buy from you?

At any moment, consumers search Google for the cheapest product or service in the whole world. We can do business with consumers across oceans, cultures, and time zones. We can get much of what we need with the click of a button on Amazon.

Many businesses who ignore this major shift struggle because they are still trying to conduct business the old way in this new world. It’s not enough to let consumers know you sell products or services. They can easily find who sells what they need, who sells it at the cheapest price, and who sells it closest to them—all in the span of 5 seconds on their smartphone while they are waiting in line at Target.

Therefore, if you try to sell your product or service just by telling consumers that you sell it and you do it in a certain location, you’ll be disappointed when you don’t see sales come in.

So what is necessary in order to get those sales?

Welcome to marketing in the modern world.

Marketing in the Modern World

Marketing today can be summed up in one word: relationships. Since consumers can now buy products or services from just about anyone in the world, they have a problem: how do they know who to buy from? There are too many options.

Many businesses now meet consumers’ criteria of being able to deliver to them in their location at their price point.

So how do consumers choose?

They choose based on the brand they like the best.

You might think that consumers will always buy from the company that sells products or services the cheapest, but to believe this is to fail to understand how humans work.

Humans are not robots.

Most of the time, people are motivated to purchase things due to multiple factors. They don’t always automatically choose the cheapest product. If this wasn’t true, there would just be one toilet paper brand, one waffle mix brand, one clothing brand, and so on and so forth.

Humans have complex and largely illogical preferences about what they buy and why.

Further, humans crave connection. If you sell a product or service that is also being sold at Walmart for cheaper and you resent Walmart for it, you are doing yourself and your customer a disservice by being resentful. You have something that Walmart doesn’t have: your brand, your business, and your personality.

Business owners absolutely must get out of the mindset that they are simply selling something. Put that aside and first, build a relationship with your customer.

When you are building a relationship with a person, what do you do? Here are some of my answers:

  • You spend time with them.
  • You talk about common interests together.
  • You don’t set out with a motive.
  • You get to know who the other person is and let them get to know who you are.
  • You come to know them better than you did before.

Of course, as a result of these things, you’ll have more of a connection with some people than with others.

Nowhere is this more apparent in marketing than in the realm of social media.

Social Media Marketing = Relationship Building

Social media marketing is the same thing as relationship building. Where many business owners get hung up is when they try to advertise and sell (the old way) on social media (the new way).

Social media, in particular, is not a sales platform. It’s not an e-commerce site. It’s a social networking site.

Using social media as an advertising platform is like approaching someone when you are on a first date and declaring that you are in a place in life where you’re ready to settle down. If they feel the same, would they kindly sign this marriage license?

If you did this on a first date, your date would probably run (not walk) in the other direction mid-dinner.

That’s why if you try to sell on social media without creating that relationship first with your audience, they are likely to run the other way as well.

How to Build a Relationship with Your Customers

So, now what?

We know we can’t be too forward with our customers and we must build a relationship with them first.

How do we do that?

Let’s revisit our list from above of what it means to build a relationship but this time, let’s think about it in the context of social media marketing:

  • You spend time with them.
  • You talk about common interests together.
  • You don’t set out with a motive.
  • You get to know who the other person is and let them get to know who you are.
  • You come to know them better than you did before.

All of these work. You enjoy spending time with them and chatting about your common interests (most likely related to your product); you don’t try to sell them all the time; you get to know them better as you spend more time together.

Here’s where many business owners will start to protest and say, “Relationship building is time-consuming! How can I make sales if I’m not allowed to sell?”

First of all, you are allowed to sell from time to time. Just not all the time.

Secondly, just like when you date someone and you don’t spend your entire relationship talking about your wedding, the other person in the relationship is still totally aware of why you are spending time together and learning more about each other—because that’s what dating is.

In the same way, consumers understand that businesses don’t invest resources in things that are not for the purpose of selling. You are a business. They know who you are. They know why you are on social media. You don’t need to tell them.

The Choice Is Yours

The sooner your business makes this mental shift around social media or any other form of marketing, the sooner you will start to see more sales roll in. Consumers want to have a relationship with you. Once you get used to it, you’ll find that creating these relationships not only makes marketing a lot more profitable, but it makes it a lot more fun, too.


Looking to learn more about how to use social media to build relationships with your target market? Join my online learning community, Influence School, and get access to videos, modules, and other tools to help take your online marketing strategy to the next level.


AnnaMarketing Is Dead. The New Way Is Called “Relationships.”

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  • Absolutely agree. If only more business owners would pay attention. 🙁

    Well written post, btw. I enjoyed the read.

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 I consider it my job to let business owners know about this incredible opportunity that will help them get more customers 🙂