When analyzing the long-term viability of a business, Venture Capitalists look at a variety of indicators. One of the indicators is the industry trend. Is a given industry growing or shrinking? Has it reached its peak? Is it in decline?
Ideally, an industry is growing. In a growing industry there is room for new participants (i.e. new businesses), there is room for growing existing businesses, and there is opportunity for growing market share by innovation. So, if a business comes along that does something better than existing businesses, it has a good chance of capturing a larger percentage of the growing pie of that industry. In a mature industry that has peaked, the barriers to entry are much higher because of stiff competition, entrenched participants with strong presence, and customer brand loyalty.
So, what about Social Media Marketing? Where are we on the industry curve? How attractive is this industry to be in?
Since the industry is only a few years old (certainly no more than 10), we have to consider it to be in a growth phase. Anyone can see that companies are now scrambling to establish social media presence, develop social media marketing plans, and establish successful social media marketing campaigns to outcompete their rivals. In an S-shaped growth curve, the current situation for social media marketing should look something like this:
In the past few years, everyone has realized the potential benefits of social media marketing. Explosive hits like the Old Spice body wash campaign (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE&feature=share&list=TL3pNj1YHgQeMxGUxcqVsVi2qAEDyJfp0Q ) have shown marketers and CEOs alike that social media marketing can completely change your business. And failure to participate can cause disruption ( http://youtu.be/5YGc4zOqozo ).
So, what does this mean to us as social media marketers?
It means that the future looks pretty bright. As long as there is a Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter (or any of the other tools we use), companies will be searching for people with our skillset. We’re getting into the industry at a good time, and we can expect it to continue to grow significantly. Now is a good time to be a social media marketer.
But we have to be careful. Everyone is waking up to this reality. There are plenty of people ahead of us in this career, but there are even more coming in behind us. We must continue to learn and grow and develop new methods for reaching out to our customers and interacting with them. This is a time to grow with the industry, not rest on your current knowledge.
Stay current. Pay attention to the trends. Grow with the industry and contribute to it. This is our chance to shine. Let’s be bright!
“We’re living in a revolution!” says David Meerman Scott in his foreword to Inbound Marketing (http://www.amazon.com/Inbound-Marketing-Google-Social-Series/dp/0470499311). We are on the front lines in the battle against interruption marketing. If we are successful, we could become fabulously wealthy (like former blogger Ariana Huffington and others). This is not a short-term trend. Embrace your new career, and welcome to the revolution! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1aconjR6uH4)