Be Viral.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Marketing Automation.  Vine.  Instagram.  Big Data.

connect with online marketingEveryday a new “game-changer” is announced.  We’re told that the marketing world is changing.  “People are different today, they’re looking for different things and we as marketers need to change.”

Have things really changed?  Have people really changed?

When you stop and think about it and remove yourself from the noise, we think you’ll agree that nothing really has changed.  The difference is that there are far more tools, tactics and approaches to connect with, influence and engage with your customers.

The world has certainly gotten more complex, and the buyer has all the power today; but at the end of the day the desire is still the same.  Your customers and prospects want to be valued.  They want to be appreciated.

In a “Google-ified” world, where the noise is so voluminous that no one can hear what’s being said, it is more important than ever to master the basics.  Marketing is still about influence, and influence is still all about relationships.

The single most important question you can ask as a marketer is the same as it has always been:  How can we best connect with our customer?

Connection is a powerful concept.  It means to engage both intellectually and emotionally.  It means that you stand out, and your customers care.  They are personally invested in your products and your results.  And the brands that are able to build such connections are highly rewarded for their efforts.

Now, it’s important to understand that Facebook likes and Twitter followers have nothing to do with measuring connection.  YouTube views don’t even provide an indicator.  Sure, 3.3 million people may have been looking at a cat who sat on top of a babies head, but that doesn’t mean they’re engaged.

So, how do you do that?  How do you create such deep connections in our hyper-paced, complex and noisy world?

It’s all about interaction.  Stop broadcasting and interact.  Follow the rules our mom’s taught us – you have two ears and one mouth…use them proportionately.  It’s easy to forget that if we want people to listen to us, we must first listen to them.

This is why face-to-face opportunities are so powerful.  It’s what makes simple videos so effective.  People want to know who you are, what makes you tick and what makes you distinctive. And when we say “you,” we mean you and your people.  Products don’t create connections, the people behind them do.  Let your personality through.

While potentially self-serving, we’d be remiss not to mention just how powerful experiences are to the equation.  Experiences pull people out of the screen, move beyond 140 characters and literally allow you and your brand to connect with thousands of people in an instant.

Yes, you need to utilize social media.  Analytics matter.  Big data gives us even greater ability to leverage our resources and results.  But, don’t forget the basics. Check your marketing mix and ensure that you’re allocating it in the best way to connect and influence behavior.