Marketing has many definitions, but the fact is a Marketing Plan is critical to the success of any business. As the Internet has compressed the globe and accelerated the speed of communication to “instant,” marketing techniques and strategies remain very fluid. A successful marketing strategy must fuse local, mobile and off-line together. No longer can any business ignore any of these strategies. And once the “plan” is executed, the results must be segmented and analyzed.
The economic “depression” of some years ago has negatively affected the majority of “brick and mortar” small businesses. In 2018 and beyond, it is critical that a business must be attuned to the latest and most innovative marketing techniques. Customer demographics and lifestyles are continually changing and a business must seek out these customers on their “home field.”
In past years, an individual searching for a product or service has utilized “reviews” to assist them in their decision. This search technique often consumed hours or even days because of the slow speed of communication. And “negative” reviews were difficult to find due to the lack of a responsive “media.” Businesses were thus able to conceal flaws in their product or service. This has all changed.
The astounding increase in smartphone subscribers and social media memberships has begun to revolutionize marketing strategies. Teenagers are now “texting” more than using email. Mobile applications for smartphones are evolving daily. Customer reviews of a business product or service can be posted almost instantly. It is worth noting that “one satisfied customer tells one friend, while an unhappy customer tells ten.”
Now the rapid changes in customer decisions and processes brings many opportunities to the “forward-looking” business owner. If the business reacts quickly to the new marketing trends, it can jump ahead of the competitor that utilizes outdated marketing strategies. If a business relies on “print ads” for its success, the future will not be kind to it. Some refer to “yellow pages” as the best way to prop up your computer monitor. This is not to infer that print ads should not be a part of a marketing strategy, but there are techniques that are much more effective.
Mobile has already become the dominant method of search. Today there are twice as many mobile users than desktop-only users. In 2016, sales of smartphones alone almost equaled the combined sales of PCs and laptops. All local businesses must develop a mobile presence including mobile-specific ad campaigns.
In summary, the successful marketing program will contain the following key ingredients:
Local Search Enhancement
Website Design/Site Optimization
Tracking and Analysis
The successful business owner will apply these ingredients to his marketing strategies in proportions depending upon the type of product or service. The most important aspect of any marketing plan is it must be customized specifically for the particular business.