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Today the Seattle Times announced that Microsoft is revamping their marketing to better respond to rivals. Advertising and marketing have always moved faster than business and life in general. From the days depicted in Mad Men to the incredible pace today it’s always been a race to stay ahead of competitors.

I know my marketing has changed and is ever-changing. I used to send something by US mail to my referral sources 10-12 times per year; now I’m looking to do a mailing and realize it’s been at least one year since I did so. Now, it’s emails, blogs, website postings, etc.

My CEO group’s last meeting focused on social media and electronic marketing. It’s something they are just getting into and realize they have get a handle on in the next few years. However, you have to understand that social media is simply one of many marketing tools. For a consumer product appealing to customers in their teens and 20’s, if you not big on Facebook, Twitter and similar channels you won’t make it. For old line, business to business companies, it’s not as important but soon will be as younger buyers take over.

One thing that will never change for business to business and professional service companies is the need to have strong relationships. No relationship equals no business. And this is not unimportant for companies with consumer products. Look at the reputation Nordstrom has built with personal shoppers, experts in each department and their emphasis on taking care of the customer.

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