Why ignoring social media is like smoking

A cigarette end

Smoking is bad for you, in fact potentially fatal. We all know this. There is plenty of supporting evidence. And yet about 45m Americans still smoke. Despite knowing it’s bad for them and their first-hand health experiences, changing behavior is just too hard.

The same could be said of traditional marketing. While it may not be physically addictive, it could be commercially fatal. Certainly professionally fatal. There is plenty of evidence demonstrating the power of digital communications and social media. Most marketers know this. They also have the first-hand experience of the diminishing returns from traditional techniques. And yet, once again, changing their behavior just seems too hard.

This is why many organizations seem to be waiting for the digital revolution to come. They know intellectually it’s going to impact them. But perhaps tomorrow, not today. A day which never seems to arrive – until it’s too late. By then their competitor has seized the initiative and dominated them in digital. Until they get the wake-up call that their competitor is first in search, has higher and more qualified web traffic, gets better conversions, which lead to improved sales, lower costs and higher margins.

But by then it’s too late. They’ve been outmaneuvered. They weren’t bold or willing to change, so when the market shifted they were left behind. It was easier to continue as they were. After all, it could never happen to them. Could it?