I don't run a marketing/PR company. (Yet!) But if I did I would be realizing that most companies, especially SME operations, are taking a do-it-yourself approach to modern marketing.
And why not? Adwords, Pay-per-Post, trust based marketing, permission marketing - all available, all cost little, and all are pretty effective.
So the requirements for targeting display ads in magazines, newspapers and the TV is shrinking pretty fast. If they are going to survive, and they may go the way of much of the newspaper industry in reality, then they need to adapt very quickly.
Some are trying through reactive means. Setting search parameters for (say) "bride", or "Wedding" or "groom" and then contacting the person with offers of products and services related to their looming event.
Not bad, but a bit brutish and hit and miss really isn't it?
So they are going to need new products, and new ways of remaining relevant. For marketers, just like everyone else he magic formula still works - Trust + Scarcity + Value.
They might be able to hit the "Trust" and the "Value" part, but with the preponderance of low cost marketing avenues how can they regain their position as providers of "scarce" services?
Well... this is what I would do...
First: assemble a "farm" of Twitter users. People who have 5,000+ followers. People who have proven their ability to generate a trust based asset. (Their following)
Pay them a set fee per month. Say $1,500 each for 20 - 40 of them. (For a rough maximum of 200,000 followers)
Get them to promote products that they agree with, in their specific interest areas, several times per week. With several Tweets per campaign.
Sell this service to advertisers who are looking for a way to tap into the Twitter phenomena. You get to leverage the trust based assets that your farm members have fostered, and they in turn get an opportunity to monetize these.
As time goes on you can track and pay the more effective trust marketers a retainer commensurate with their real value.
Second: This is the part where the innovation is needed. Twitter analytics is a nascent art and one that has the potential to be incredibly powerful.
Imagine being able to measure the "spread". Imagine if you could tell with just a few queries, who was the most retweeted person on Twitter.
What could you do with that? And what if you could also see when they were retweeted and how many consequent retweets they received. (At what time, in what country, on which day and so on...)
This is only scratching the surface but there are some kewl things out there. But the ability to show a radar chart, which shows density against time, is still pretty far away. (I am going to post on this later, or maybe another Squidoo page)
Third: Track clicks via something like BudURL.com, track conversions via landing pages, standard Google Analytics stuff, and (of course) track straight out revenue measurement.
This is pretty powerful stuff if it is done right. A real time graph showing the spread of an idea, Tweet, and link.
Measures showing the number of people who actually clicked on the link that was sent.
And an end result table showing how many of those clicks actually converted. Checking it with different members of the Twitter Farm and with different versions of the landing page.
The end result? A measure of marketing effectiveness within hours of launching the campaign. Now that's worth paying for...
The whole Web 2.0 thing does not have to mean the death of the marketing agency. it just means that a shift is needed from todays model to tomorrows model. Newspapers could have done the same but now it is too late.
What newspapers once held as a scarce and valuable resource is now seen as a commodity, don't let that happen to you.