With all the emphasis on the current way consumers are using the Internet and social media to help them make their purchasing decisions, we have seen an overwhelming amount of disconnect between big companies in particular and the customers they are trying to reach. It’s as if the marketing basics have some how been taken out of their marketing play book.
While big corporations can sometimes afford to make a few gaffes along the way, the same cannot be said about smaller companies. At our consultancy, Corporate Business Solutions, we have worked with a lot of companies of different sizes and industries, and there is a common thread among many of them. These days if you really want your small business to achieve sustainable growth and success, you absolutely need to approach your small business marketing in a focused, deliberate way. This means you know who your ideal customers are, how and where to reach them, and what the competition is doing in the industry. Many businesses just don’t get this.
Why So Many Get Small Business Marketing Wrong
On one hand, it seems the rules of marketing have changed. Twenty years ago, if someone needed to buy something, he or she would ask a family member, friend, neighbor or co-worker for advice. So Jill would call her friend Jane and Bob would call Bill. There was also much more brand loyalty then. Many consumers would buy based on the tried and true brands they grew up with.
Today, consumers rely on the information they can get online and on the recommendations of peers, some of whom they may never have met. There seems to be less brand loyalty in certain areas to the extent that a startup can suddenly compete head on with an established brand after a few agile moves and a fresh angle or hook.
As such, many marketing experts are quick to assert that success in marketing- especially for ecommerce or locally-based, brick and mortar entities- depends on your social media presence, where you come up in Google search rankings, how engaging you website is, and it’s conversion rate. While all of these things are certainly important, when small business marketing is lacking in the fundamentals, business owners will find that their holy grail is made of aluminum and full of holes.
Online and mobile marketing won’t help if the efforts are unfocused, and unprofitable, and the expectations are unrealistic. When traditional marketing and brand building has to take a back seat to seo, page rank, followers, friends, and likes, then in almost every case, it will become painfully obvious that these business owners were running after the wrong things.
At Corporate Business Solutions, we advise our clients to focus on and maximize their connection to their customers. Small companies in particular have the distinct advantage of being a lot closer to their customers than their big competitors. The sheer amount of data and customer management tools allow even small businesses to offer sophisticated, personalized experiences to their customers.
Building a distinguishable, consistent and well-targeted brand is even more necessary now that there is so much noise and competition. It’s not that Internet and mobile marketing should be ignored, but they need to be accompanied and incorporated into a sound overall small business marketing strategy that includes market research, a clear message, value creation, and sound customer relationships. The most successful small business marketing needs to start with the basics.
*This post was brought to you by Corporate Business Solutions