Let’s talk about the obvious cost to your business – Loss of Market Share & Market Penetration, or more simply stated audience, awareness, and customers. Whether you realize it or not, your audience is moving online in greater numbers every day. There has been a longstanding myth that has been perpetrated, that states the as the Baby-Boomer Generation retires, we are losing the largest segment of a purchasing audience ever, and that there will never be so many goods and services sold again. That is blatantly false.
First of all, that claim only considers a “generation” contained in the U.S. Our markets and audiences are and have to be considered as global generations. The mere fact that your business has a website means you are able to reach a worldwide audience. Second, the generation being defined as Gen Tech, those that are 18 and under right now, will have grown up, never knowing a time without the internet or cellphones. In summation, they are on the horizon, and are the largest (world) populous generation recorded, and will have ten times the purchasing power of the Baby Boomer Generation.
The existing generations are also streaming online in greater numbers than ever. Here are a few stats:
· 78% Of Americans 45-60 years of age are computer users
· 86% Of Gen X (30-45) & Gen Y (18-30) are computer users
Here is what they are doing online:
· 90% of all purchasing decisions, from where to eat, to what product to buy, to healthcare & business decisions begin with research performed by an online Search Engine.
· 48% of internet users purchased a good or service in 2000 that increased to 71% in 2006.
· 54% of business professionals reported in April of 2007 that they utilize the internet for research and purchases related to their business.
· In April, 2007, Technorati reported they are tracking more than 75 million blogs and that 175,000 new blogs are being created each day.
· YouTube serves more than 100 million videos every day.
· During 2006, the number adults who had downloaded a podcast grew more than 70% in the first six months alone.
· A podcasting audience totaling 10 million people in 2006 is expected to grow to 55 million by the year 2011.
How about Social Media?
According to a recent survey, it was found that 60% of Americans use social media, and of those, 59% interact with companies on social media Web sites. One in four interacts more than once per week. These same subjects surveyed also found that 93% of Americans believe a company “should have a presence in social media,” 85% say having a presence is not enough, and that companies “should also interact with consumers via social media.”
The Survey revealed interesting facts about what users of social media actually expected companies to do on social media platforms: “The news here is that Americans are eager to deepen their brand relationships through social media,” explains Mike Hollywood, director of new media for Cone, “it isn’t an intrusion into their lives, but rather a welcome channel for discussion.”
The bottom line, is that as more and more of your target audience is increasing their activity on the web, they expect your company to be doing the same (increasing your activity, services, and solutions as well). How much market share, market penetration, and revenue can your company afford to lose by not entering into Social Media?
 2000-2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project
 2000-2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project, Technorati, & YouTube
 2008 Cone Business in Social Media Study