danniewriter

Trends: Looking back; looking forward

Do a Google search on 2018 marketing predictions, and you will read about IoT (Internet of Things), Chatbots, live streaming, virtual reality–and that’s just scratching the surface. For small businesses and organizations, all that techno-speak can be overwhelming, especially if you handle your own marketing and public relations.

Take heart. In the midst of all this gadgetry and constant change, the experts also have a great deal to say about foundational, even old school, marketing techniques.

Here are some insights on 2017 marketing trends that came to pass, and predictions for 2018.

The site, B2C: Business to Community, shared a very helpful column by Sarah Hanney that focuses on marketing for small businesses. A blogger for Signkick, it’s not surprising that Hanney has something positive to say about outdoor advertising, but her perspective is sound, and there is a new take on how billboards, bus signs, and the like, can work in concert with digital media.

There are other approaches that Hanney, and other experts, mention that are as old as movable type, although the names have changed: purpose-driven, and influencer, marketing.

Mathew Sweezey puts it this way in a post for salesforce: “Marketing of the future must have a heart.” Now more than ever, consumers want to do business with companies that care about the communities in which they operate, in addition to a national, and sometimes, global community.

That sense of mission and integrity is really in demand today, and marketers and influencers are responding.

Consider Virat Kohli, a pro cricketer from India, who turned down what must have been a highly lucrative deal with Pepsi because he wanted to promote a healthier product. Read S. Swaminathan’s piece on Campaign India. His insights are helpful to all of us.

Celebrities are not the only “influencers” you can call on to market your products, services, or organization. Find out more about influencer marketing in a blog post by Joshua Nite for TopRank Marketing.

If you need help marketing your small business or community non-profit, give me a call. I can develop a plan for you that uses old-school and new-school media to get your message to the right audience. The initial consultation is free.

Carts and horses

ponycart

A friend of mine who is an online community manager recommended a great article recently. Like so many helpful observations, it seems obvious, but it wouldn’t be Tweeted, re-Tweeted, posted, blogged, etc., unless there were a slew of people out there falling into this particular hole.

Why You Need a Business Strategy, Not a Social Strategy was written by Jon Gatrell of Pragmatic Marketing. The piece is all about how easy it is to get carts in front of horses. Social media is free, and accounts can be set up, literally, in seconds. It’s no wonder businesses and organizations are stumbling over their wagons and horses.

In one of my first blog posts, I wrote: If your business, ministry or charity is plugging along on word of mouth and existing customers/supporters, it’s obvious you are doing something right! Congrats.

Growth is not always synonymous with success, especially if it comes at the high price of time away from family, health problems, etc. For the small percentage of business owners who are “doing very well, thank you,” the only “must” in online marketing would be a simple landing page on the internet with background, directions and contact info.

For the vast number of us in the “other” category, branching out in several marketing directions: print, direct mail, website, blog, social media, etc., is needed, but map out your business/organizational goals first.

Gatrell points out the folly of attempting to use every social media platform available. Not only can it become a huge time suck, depending on what you are selling/promoting, it could work against you. The wrong “fit” tells the world that you don’t really understand the different audiences of each platform, and it is also an indication that you might not know your own audience very well either.

“There’s a reason no one posts about holiday crafts on LinkedIn and why there aren’t many whitepapers showing up on Pinterest,” Gatrell writes.

Don’t let the tail wag the dog. Check out the post and use the suggested diagram to start mapping your business/organizational strategy; the marketing strategy will follow.

Need help? Call me!

 

Light bulbs

thinker1

Marketing Monday came and went without a post yesterday because I’ve been impressed recently by several articles on this mammoth subject and its infinite number of ancillary topics. In short: I couldn’t decide what to write about yesterday.

So I gave it some more thought and decided to share the best of the brightest I’d run across the past few days.

There’s a lot of pontificating (often I refer to this as “balloon juice”) out there intended to make authors/presenters look really smart. Inevitably they end up complicating, and then renaming, things that are essentially fairly simple to understand. One of my favorite examples is the term “signage,” which is now firmly embedded in our lexicon, but let’s face it, folks, “signs,” works just fine too.

But I digress.

In addition to the balloon juice is a great deal of informative, illustrative and no-nonsense articles and observations about marketing, public relations, social media, etc.

Here’s some info and links on the ones that really caught my eye. I ran across the first two on LinkedIn.

Last week I blogged about print not being dead. This week I ran across a post from Yvonne Parkinson that references data to back that up. Yes, as director of a printing firm she has a big dog in the fight, but the figures come from Direct Marketing Association in the UK so I think the figures are pretty solid no matter which side of the pond you are on.

Some might consider the next one as approaching clickbait status (more on that below), but after reading it, I disagree. Yes, it was the mention of the movie, The Breakfast Club (one of my all-time faves), that caught my eye, but this brief observation from Rex Weaver, a mover and shaker in the automotive industry, provides insight on how you can approach your audience with a fresh perspective. He defines three terms of customer “segmentation” that are not in the least snooty-sounding: User Based, Benefit Based and Occasion Based.

The last two come from HootSuite, the platform that enables users to post to multiple social media accounts simultaneously. They offer other stuff too.

HootSuite has just released its 2015 Social Media Glossary, enabling dabblers to figure out what those pretentious pundits are talking about, or perhaps empowering dabblers to sound like pretentious pundits themselves. Seriously, this is good info. Read this and you’ll understand why Rex Weaver’s Breakfast Club post is not in the least clickbait … among other helpful things.

This last one is so insightful for business owners who are on social media. It illustrates why it is impossible for shops large and small (and non-profits, too) to “do” social media halfway. If you have started a Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest board and simply abandoned it, you may be leaving a billboard of customer/donor dissatisfaction on the InterWebz for all the world to see … forever. Don’t let this happen to you.