The New Small Business Marketing Landscape

Digital marketing has become VAST:
Marketing techniques constantly have to evolve and change with changing times; as the consumers evolve, so do the means of reaching out to them. Today’s consumers belongs to a digital age.

Talking about spends on digital marketing in 2010, approximately $154.4 billion was spent on direct and digital advertising in 2010, up 2.7% over 2009 levels. Of that amount, digital spending accounted for $27.7 billion, driven by search and targeted display advertising.

When we talk about digital marketing the pool of options available to a marketer are vast. From the latest mobile marketing to online display, there are numerous tools that can be used. However, the key lies in using each tool strategically to get the best results from the campaign.

Businesses cannot ignore their ONLINE FOOTPRINT:
Internet has become an integral part in businesses as well as homes. Internet users form a huge audience which marketers cannot afford to ignore. What people talk online can have a direct impact on sales. With search engines becoming ever more powerful, even the smallest remark on a blog or twitter status update, can be fetched and put forth in front of an information hungry web user. This has increased the need for continuous online analytics, not only of your own website, but also the entire web, wherever your name is mentioned.

Altered PR CYCLE:
As market dynamics change the age old means of driving publicity and PR also have to evolve. Today PR has evolved from merely pushing news to the media to a stage wherein content and messaging has taken center stage. Competition mapping, giving out the right message, and closely mapping industry movements helps build a strategic PR campaign. One that not only talks about your company but also helps you position your company in the industry as a thought leader. Monitoring conversations and real-time coverage clearly speaks about how PR has been altered to develop an intelligent messaging strategy.

The CONSUMER has gained substantial power:
Consumer is king!! Today there are a number of factors that influence a buying decision; from purchasing power to influencers that surround the consumer, have a huge role to play. Hence influencing the influencer is the new marketing mantra. With social media emerging as a huge platform to connect and network, this has led to the emergence of a certain set of individuals who are considered as opinion makers. These people have considerable clout because their thoughts, insight and opinions are highly valued by a large network of followers, friends, fans and readers. As a marketer you must identify who these individuals are and devise an influencer marketing strategy to reach out to them.

DIALOGING is better than push marketing:
Consumers today have a mind of their own and are smart enough to identify push marketing strategies. The new age marketing technique has moved away from ‘in the face’ marketing to subtle and more conversational style of selling. We live in a connected world where engagement, interactivity and dialogue play a huge rule. To converse and interact with your potential customer is essential to sell your product.

AMBIGUOUS marketing efforts have no future:
Marketing campaigns need to be structured and targeted. Any marketing effort that does not have a defined objective and a desired result in place is destined to fail. Ambiguous marketing campaigns that do not have a roadmap or a step-by-step roll out plan that leads to a pre decided conclusion will not achieve the desired results. Many businesses are rushing into social media marketing without knowing what they are getting into and how they will maintain it. Ill planned campaigns will lead to no or poor results.

Consistent MEASUREMENT and ADJUSTMENT is the key:
Any campaign that is launched needs to have a measurement matrix in place. At the end of the day, marketing is aimed at supporting and increasing sales. A campaign needs to be measured in terms of some quantifiable metrics. Especially in the case of social media marketing, a measurement criterion is essential to gauge the success of the campaign. Also it’s important to have the necessary flexibility in place. There should be room for changes and modifications in the strategy to achieve best results. There are times when market dynamics cannot be controlled. The marketing campaign should be made flexible to accommodate last minute modifications.