Considering the rate at which technology is advancing, it’s a fool’s errand to try to stay in front of the latest developments. Most marketers are more concerned with staying on board with the latest, but that can be pretty confusing too when there are so many concerns on the table. A vocabulary rich in buzzwords won’t get the job done, nor will a whole suite of sophisticated marketing tools that nobody knows how to use properly.
So, for the small- to medium-size business with limited marketing resources, what are some concerns to focus on?
Focus on the long term
Keep your marketing department and IT department connected. It’s important that each department has a good idea of what the other one is doing, and that they come to an understanding about what’s actually involved.
Concentrate on social and mobile marketing. Facebook, Twitter and mobile channels are taking more and more prominence in the marketing efforts of companies everywhere, and for good reason…they’re the perfect way to target your customers and get your message to them.
Think big picture
Don’t get hung up on the minutiae of a campaign; think instead of the entire process, especially when marketers have analytics at their disposal to tweak and adjust their efforts. A marketer’s approach should be flexible and adaptable, because it’s a fluid landscape in the web marketing world.
Keep your efforts consistent and thorough across all channels. Email, content marketing, SEO, paid search, banner ads and YouTube are all channels that can drive traffic and conversions your way — why skimp on any of them?
Using social media as a testing ground, companies can analyze reactions to their campaigns, and change them in real time. With this in mind, it’s important to focus on branding, leveraging data, and effectively using social media as other channels in the grand scheme of things. If you are doing everything else right, ROI will take care of itself.
Content will always be king
Content is more than what gets taken up and disseminated by content marketing firms to boost your Google rank. It’s what keeps your customers informed and engaged, and keeps them coming back to your site. Stilted, stale content doesn’t get the job done — it needs to be fresh and compelling and sound like it was actually written by humans, for humans (and not for search engine bots). Tempting as it might be to outsource your content creation, your users will know the difference right off — find a good content team, compensate them well, and keep them close.
Remember that technology doesn’t make the company. It’s just a tool, and like any tool, you need competent people to understand and use it. Look, for example, at mapbooks. Companies like Rand McNally and Thomas Brothers found their way into the automobiles of every man or woman in America. Because both companies decided not to mess with their successful business methods, they have been left in the dust. Google Maps and Apple Maps, not to mention Tomtom, Garmin, and Magellan have found ways to make the mapbooks of old completely obsolete.
Tools aren’t a substitute for innovation or for a good idea, good product, and good customer service. They should come together as an integrated approach that serves your needs, despite how complicated or time-consuming that may be. Organize your teams around using technology to best advantage, but remember that your business, in the end, is people working to serve people, and that’s the one thing you should never lose sight of.
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