Marketers can no longer sit back and “buy attention” through mass media and then rely on professional salespeople to step in to guide buyers from discovery call through close. Engaging the changed buyer requires new insight. Search is the new sales person. “The buyer searching for information must be educated. Perceptions must change. Objections must be overcome. And decisions coordinated.” (Peter Drucker) Today marketers are tracking rapid changes in social media and search marketing, and the decreasing relevance of print and mass media. The underlying trend to this is simply access to information. Previously Quality filters and the economics of information were commonly controlled by businesses like publishing companies. They controlled and edited content that deserved to be edited based on quality filters, or they edited content that was paid for (like a newspaper advertisement with The Wall Street Journal).

In a dramatic return to scale – Modern filtration and quality check is done by the people. People make information accessible by liking it, sharing it, and SEO uses social filters to deem if information is valuable, or qualified to be delivered to the masses by achieving a high-ranking. The economics of filtering and publishing quality content have changed.

In the old publishing world marketing almost exclusively delivered branding, or high level awareness, but there was no way to pinpoint buyers that were beginning to move in the sales process.This consistently created a gap in the sales and marketing processes. To overcome this gap marketing must now create high-ranking content in our new social filtering system to effectively engage their audience. This social influence is continuing to evolve – previously you had to write good content to reach your target audience, now you have to write good content and then track and measure your audiences interactions and ‘digital body language’.

Success can only come by embracing this trend, which means engaging and guiding todays buyer in new ways that reflect the new realities of information access, and that, in turn, rely on understanding each buyer. If we understand our buyers unique needs then we can tailor content that will efficiently drive and educate them through all stages of the buying process.