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Oh how the times are changing. In years past, businesses and consumers engaged in a one-way message, with consumers having little to say.

In the 1950’s businesses were solely focused on products, manufacturing costs, and efficiency – they believed if they made it people would buy it. They never gave much thought to the consumer.

And then there was a shift in the 90s, where consumers became more relationship oriented than product oriented – there was open communication between producers and consumers. At the core of this orientation is the consumer’s need; producers now research what consumers desire before they go to the drawing board.

Now, we have another shift – we are still relationally oriented, except now it’s on steroids! There are masses of producers all vying for the same target market and to take a lead brands must be relationally oriented.

Consumers are usually first exposed to brands via traditional marketing efforts such as T.V. ads, magazine ads, billboards, and so on. If they are intrigued they will seek to learn more, usually by accessing the brand’s website. And if they are still interested, they’ll probably look at how the company interacts with consumers via Facebook. It is as if the consumer slowly pulls back the layers of the brand.

Consumers want to know the brand and be known by the brand. No longer are producers charged to just make products or know their target market; now they must befriend their target market. Thanks to social media, more personal connection can be established between brands and consumers – social media is revolutionizing communication in the 21st Century.

The days of producing a T.V. ad and calling it quits are over. Traditional marketing efforts are still in play, but the story doesn’t end there. It’s actually just the beginning. Each layer should lead to the next layer, ultimately creating a long term, mutually beneficial relationship.

Know who your target market is, know how to communicate with them on a public and personal level, and pursue a long term relationship.

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