Strategic Marketing Confusion
Starting a small business is an enormous task. From registration to hiring to inventory, owners are tasked with a lot of work. Then an owner has to start to think of how to promote their business. How do I get people in the door or to my site? The Internet is full of websites that can tell you what to do, in what order and what results to expect. But it is so full of different strategies, tactics and opinions that it is hard for an individual to know what is correct, especially if that person doesn’t have a marketing background. The problem is credibility. With so many people being able to self publish their thoughts so easily (like on a blog like this one?), it is difficult to get through the clutter.
The idea for this post came from another article that spoke on search engine optimization or SEO. It went on to say that SEO is dead and businesses should completely abandon their SEO strategies. It spoke in depth on how the search engines change the search algorithms frequently so one day your site is on top of the pile, while the next day you aren’t. It also said that it was a futile exercise that didn’t produce any results. They suggested that a strategy of content, collaboration and community would have more success and therefore was the better strategy.
Well, I agree with them…at least in part. Their strategy of the contributing well-written and compelling content while encouraging a collaborative culture is sound (wow, that is a lot of c words in that sentence). The fostering of a community around the business and its products is also a great idea. But these 3 C’s are nothing new. Content has long been a sensible approach to engaging your customers. Collaboration and community can be called co-branding/cross promotion and brand loyalty, respectively. They are tried and true marketing concepts taught in every business college the world over.
So what does a small business owner believe? Well I am here to set the record straight. Advertising and marketing work. No doubt about it. How else do we know what movies are coming out or when a new restaurant is opening? The challenge is staying loyal to the tried and true concepts. It is easy to jump to the newest strategy, tactic or tool for fear of missing out on an easy up tick in sales. For a marketing and advertising campaign to work, it has to be across multiple channels while communicating a consistent message, brand image and call to action, among other things. These multiple channels are key. Websites and social media are the latest channels, but tried and true channels such as direct mail, print advertising, public relations and outdoor still have a place in your marketing mix.
There is no magic marketing and advertising bullet. It still comes down to using all the tools available to you to make your business a success.
–Adam OLeary, President