2010 proved to be yet another year filled with reports of failed business, continued cutbacks and droves of people wondering…”have we hit bottom yet?” As the economic tsunami continues to roll through our economy, it carries with it an entire generation’s worth of historical reference with regard to marketing and business development as we know it. Not one single industry is bullet proof, and no longer can we look to the past to guide us into the future.
With that in mind, there are some tactics that are important to implement. Some are old and some have been re-tooled, but none-the-less, as ideas start flowing for the year ahead, think about approaching marketing with a fresh new perspective.
Micro-Niche Marketing will be one of the most cost effective ways to reach target audiences in the future. Embrace this idea or risk losing market share quickly. This should be considered with every tactic or initiative a business engages in.
Business Development initiatives are now a “team sport.” Learn to play as a team or lose the game. Business development is the responsibility of everyone in the firm. If a coach is needed for the team, hire an expert marketing firm to train employees. The investment will pay off.
Social Media is here to stay. If a company doesn’t have LinkedIn or Facebook accounts, or started blogging, it’s time to get busy. This isn’t going away, and in fact, social media has become so main-stream and accepted now, that many businesses rely on it as an integral part of their overall communications strategy.
Public Relations has emerged with a renewed focus and investment and it is making a huge comeback. Partly because of budget cuts and lack of advertising dollars to spend, and partly because the customer has become far more educated and cautious about how and where they invest their money. Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines.
Philanthropy is no longer defined by writing a check to a favorite charity—if a company and its employees are not volunteering actual service hours to the effort, only half of the requirement is being fulfilled. While the dollars it takes to fund the good work of charities is substantial and most need more of it, don’t underestimate how closely these efforts are now scrutinized. It’s not really what a business chooses to support; it’s how that company supports it. At the very least, donate some time and experience to people who could not otherwise receive or afford that experience .
Content, Content, Content, and more CONTENT—the new age requires consistently changing, new and MEANINGFUL content. For 2011, look to provide useful, non-promotional information on a regular basis. Once considered a company’s intellectual property, white papers, newsletters, podcasts and other detailed information will be the next level of content provided FREE, on-line, to attract new customers.
Mobile Device Marketing has produced yet another opportunity for marketing and companies must recognize how consumers now use the internet. iPhones, iPads and Blackberries have provided a web experience that no longer requires a desktop computer. Companies must recognize consumer trends in this area and understand their use of mobile search and mobile internet usage and learn how develop “mobile friendly” communications, and capture the “mobile market.”
Networking, an in person, face-to-face meeting with a real live human is back in fashion. With so much economic turmoil, people are thirsty for live communications again, and professional organizations offer the perfect platform to meet, connect and maintain and build brand presence. Select a club or group that aligns with your industry, business acumen, or interest and schedule an investigative lunch to determine if the culture of the organization is right.
Brand Ambassadors and customer service is more than service; it is now the new “normal” in business. If a business doesn’t at least meet the baseline of what a customer, or client expects from it, then the competition will. Invest in team training (the most valuable resource are the internal brand ambassadors) and get loyalty appreciation, more competent team members and enjoy a richer and deeper relationship with the team and the clients.