Marketing will never be the same.

There was a time when desktop computing skills (remember that phrase?) moved from optional to required. Then, employees had to understand the Web. Now, no organization can afford to hire people in their marketing department who don't understand social networking and mobile engagement. My prediction is that every new hire for any professional position will one day have to demonstrate a proficiency in social and digital media.

Below are five new realities of marketing you can't afford to ignore.

  1. Every company is a publisher. Like it or not, you are now required to create downloadable PDFs, content papers, case studies, blog posts, social media updates, etc. Your future (and existing) donors, clients, and customers are more likely to find you than you are them. You can't become a thought leader and not publish. And a strategy of spreading your message one person at a time won't keep pace with the ever-changing digital landscape. You simply can't scale outside of digital publishing efforts.

  2. Every public profile should have a digital presence. Determine who the individuals are who are your spokespeople. This isn't limited to nonprofits and senior executives. These are the people who are most likely to interact with your core target audience on a regular basis. People will want to follow them on Twitter, read their status updates on Facebook, and connect with them on LinkedIn. This helps "the rest of us" stay connected and gain trust with those who live on the platform. If you don't have a digital presence, in a sense, you don't exist.

  3. Every marketing campaign should begin and end on the Web. I'm a huge fan of print media. But I also know that your digital real estate is the most valuable property your company will ever own. Your print campaigns should be an extension of your Web presence. Any call to action should include an opportunity for people to respond online in some fashion. No company wants to miss out on the excitement of a new customer, client, or donor sharing their decision with their social sphere of influence. You can't buy that kind of advertising and promotion.

  4. Every new staff member must, at least, understand social networking. I recognize that there are positions that may not immediately connect with social media. But what if I could communicate with my mechanic via Twitter instead of the phone? Or what if I could receive regular updates from my running coach via short videos on his or her YouTube channel that demonstrated technique? It goes without saying that every marketing new hire must understand social networking. Things are moving too fast to hire someone and then "teach them the ropes." But don't limit social networking to your marketing department either.

  5. Every company must consistently create great content. The world of inbound marketing demands that companies "feed the beast." Consistency and frequency of content are what search engines crave. This is not a sprint; it's a marathon. Your ability to execute an editorial calendar consistently will not only boost your SEO, it will also separate you from your competition. Few companies are doing this well right now.

It's a choice that the consumer, donor, or client has made for you.

How are you changing your strategy and approach to account for these shifts in marketing?

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