It must have been like this for the people who made buggy whips, bridles and cart wheels.

Their customers were already chugging round (albeit nervously) in their new-fangled motor cars, pressing their noses against showroom windows or swapping news and views about these revolutionary devices at every opportunity.

Change was coming, and coming fast. Those that adapted, survived; blacksmiths became mechanics, coach-builders became car-makers, and so on. Those that couldn’t – or wouldn’t – change went the way of all flesh.

But whether it’s real horse-power losing out to the ‘horseless carriage’ or any other example of inexorable change you care to mention, each and every situation teaches us a powerful lesson.

We have to be where our customers are, understanding what’s important to them and talking to them in the language that they use.

So when I read here that “While 52 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses say they use social sites…over half of those companies felt such sites are of little or no use”, I quake.

You may not work for a SME. But unless you’re engaging constructively with your customers (that is, not just pushing out one-way marketing messages) you run exactly the same risk of being bypassed and left behind.