Counselor Commentary - Twitter IPO Changes Marketing Landscape

Social Network Changing Face Of Media And Marketing

Andy CohenWithin the next week, it's expected that the long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of stock in social networking company Twitter will take place. While the company has been mum on the exact date of the launch, analysts believe TWTR will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on November 7. And when it opens for trading between $17 and $20 a share, the company will immediately be valued at about $11 billion.

Who would have thought that such a no-frills online service that allows people to post updates of no more than 140 characters would so quickly become such a highly-valued operation? It's especially surprising, considering Twitter most recently reported that it had a net loss of $79.4 million on revenue of just $316.9 million in 2012. Despite those numbers, Twitter's management team is on a road show of sorts this week, visiting many investment companies to gauge interest in the stock and promote its IPO. And response is unanimously positive. Twitter "is getting a really warm welcome from people," Scott Sweet, CEO of research firm IPO Boutique, told Reuters. "Of all the individuals and institutions I've talked to – which include multi-billion dollar hedge funds – no one has said they aren't playing."

Why is the stock of a just-more-than-$300-million company so highly anticipated? Because Twitter is quickly changing the face of media and marketing. And, it's something that all marketing professionals – including promotional product distributors and suppliers – should be keenly aware of. This is how people – consumers and business-to-business buyers alike – communicate and consume information today. If you haven't had a Twitter screen open on a tablet or smart phone while watching a live event on TV or attending an event in person, then you'll very soon be in the minority on that. Media consumption today is done through many screens and many outlets – simultaneously – as people want to gauge the reactions of others to the same thing they're watching. They want immediate feedback, fast interaction, and rapid reaction.

Just like your customers want. Twitter isn't only a media outlet, but it's a way to reach across demographics and geographies very quickly to interact with an audience. Marketers today are trying to figure out how to implement Twitter into their marketing campaigns so they can more closely interact with their customers and prospects. It's precisely the same reason they turn to promotional products – so they can put a memorable item in the hands of their target audience.

Twitter, just like promotional products, is a means to a marketing end today. Don't ignore its power. Embrace it and tie it into your own business, so you too can create closer, faster, and more in-depth interactions with your customers and their customers as well.