Written by Jessica Swanson Tuesday, April 24 2012
Over the past 10 years marketing has changed more than any other time in history. The marketing world has gone through three main transitions that are important for the small business owner to understand.
1) Traditional marketing includes tools such as television, radio, billboards and direct mail. The marketing message is commanding and directive, and there is no interaction between the marketer and the consumer. As a result, consumers began to distrust the commanding nature of traditional marketing and turned to the Internet in order to feel more in control over their purchasing choices.
As consumers moved online, traditional marketing was forced to change. Small business owners realized that they needed to utilize the Internet to reach their clients and customers. Thus, Internet marketing was born.
2) Internet marketing includes tools such as pay-per-click advertising, banner ads, text ads, solo ads, etc. Internet marketing is more dynamic and more focused on the wants of the customer than traditional marketing avenues.
However, the consumer continued to change. They wanted even more participation in their purchasing decisions and wanted to become personally involved in the buying process.
As a result, consumers developed various networks of trusted friends and colleagues through social media platforms to help them in their purchasing decisions. Thus, small business owners were forced to embrace new marketing tools in order to market their small businesses and relate to customers in an entirely different way.
3) New media marketing includes tools such as blogs, video sites, social networking sites and podcasts. This marketing approach is vastly different from either traditional or Internet marketing. Instead of an aggressive, pushy and one-sided dialogue, there is an open process that includes listening, interaction and involvement between the consumer and business owner.
Today’s consumers are savvier than ever before. They aren’t interested in the commanding and directive ways of traditional marketing. Instead, they are interested in interacting and developing relationships with those that they do business with.
Therefore, another way to understand the vast changes in the marketing world is to divide marketing into two distinct categories: interruption marketing and relationship marketing.
Interruption marketing is exactly what the name implies. It is marketing that “interrupts” the consumer. As you watch a TV show, a commercial cuts into your program. Or, as you listen to the radio, an ad abruptly takes over your favorite song.
Research suggests that consumers detest interruption marketing. Here are some interesting statistics that show how quickly interruption marketing is dying:
According to Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden, authors of “Connected Marketing”:
- 90 percent of people who are able to skip TV ads, do skip TV ads.
- 65 percent of people believe they are constantly bombarded with too much advertising.
- 56 percent of people avoid buying from companies that they feel advertise too much.
So, what do these statistics mean to you and your marketing plan? In a nutshell, our audiences are changing so our marketing needs to change.
People are tired of traditional advertising. They are sick of “being sold” and want to make purchases in a completely different environment. Research clearly suggests that consumers are moving away from trusting directive advertising and moving toward trusting their friends, their networks and the networks that they have created around themselves.
More and more consumers are moving online to establish this network of trusted friends and colleagues. They are active in social networking sites, business networking sites, sharing sites and publishing sites. Therefore, if you want to capture the attention of this new consumer, then you need to move online as well.
However, it’s not enough to simply build a website on the Internet. You must develop ways to genuinely interact with your potential clients and customers.
The good news is that there are hundreds of shoestring marketing platforms that allow you to engage with your prospects in very authentic ways. Blogs, videos, podcasts, ezines, articles, press releases and social media sites are all new tools perfectly designed to communicate with your target market.
You are currently part of the most exciting marketing phase in history. Anyone can quickly and efficiently grow their small business, using a combination of effective marketing tools, without spending a dime.
Developing an Effective Marketing Campaign
Whether you are selling a product or service, there are four powerful marketing principles that are essential to your success.
Although these marketing principles are fairly simple, once applied they can be incredibly powerful tools for building your small business.
Most beginning marketers make the mistake of overcomplicating the process of marketing.
Consequentially, their results are poor at best.
In order to attain a positive return on your marketing investment (whether that investment is time or money), the four basic principles described below are the basic building blocks of marketing success:
1. Understand Your Target Market
It's impossible to market your product or service if you don't know who you are selling to and what motivates them to buy.
Are your potential clients and customers male or female? What is their typical education level? Are they first time buyers or frequent buyers? What kind of cars do they drive? Are they married or single?
The more information that you are able to gather about your audience, the more targeted and applicable your marketing campaign will be.
2. Nurture Your Relationships
Once you begin identifying potential clients and customers, it's mandatory to begin developing a relationship with them.
Research suggests that your target market needs to be exposed to your company and offer between seven and 12 times before they take action. This is best accomplished by educating them continually about your product and services.
You can accomplish this by sending your prospects’ educational articles, informational podcasts, free reports, downloadable ebooks and inviting them to webinars or live seminars.
If you are able to effectively educate your prospects as to why they need your product or service, they are much more likely to make a purchase.
3. Deliver an Irresistible Offer
In direct marketing, research suggests that your results are 40 percent dependent on your list, 40 percent dependent on your offer and 20 percent dependent upon the creativity involved.
It's no different for email marketing, ezine marketing, Google Adwords, etc. It's important to continually test various offers to your prospects.
Eventually, you will be able to pinpoint an offer that outperforms all the rest and that your prospects find utterly irresistible.
If your offer provides a satisfactory solution to your target market, at the right time and the right price, your sales could increase by up to 400 percent.
4. Communicate a Powerful Message
Once you understand your audience and have identified problems that they are facing within your industry, you will be able to craft a message that succinctly solves their problem.
Your marketing message should also differentiate your product or service from your competition.
It's also important that you focus on the benefits of your product or service, as opposed to the features. If your marketing message is compelling enough, it will undoubtedly move your prospects to take action.
The next time you are putting together a marketing campaign, apply these four marketing principles.
Understanding your target market, nurturing your relationships, delivering an irresistible offer and communicating to them effectively are the essential foundations for any marketing campaign to attain favorable results.
Here's some more advice on maximizing your business exposure:
Just because your website exists doesn't mean that people will find it. Internet marketing expert Heather Lutze has discovered a tried and true method of increasing website traffic.
Marketing is only half the battle. Rachelle Togo-Figa developed a step-by-step guide to help you reel in those customers and make the sale.
Lynn Parker's variety of integrated branding, which aligns branding and marketing with the wants and needs of the customer, has benefited clients like IBM, Microsoft and the Mayo Clinic.
Jessica Swanson is the founder and president of Shoestring Marketing University and Shoestring Marketing Solutions. Swanson has helped thousands of small business owners, all over the world, implement low-cost, high-impact marketing campaigns. Armed with years of teaching and a master's degree in written communications, Swanson takes complicated marketing concepts, turns them upside-down, and makes them incredibly simple and outrageously straightforward. Known for her energy, passion and “get-it-done” attitude, she shares her savvy marketing tips through her information-packed blog at www.ShoestringMarketingUniversity.com. To download Swanson’s FREE Shoestring Marketing Kit go to: www.ShoestringMarketingKit.com.