7 Digital Marketing Opportunities for Small Businesses

For anyone who has been following trends in marketing of late, there will be no surprises in here. We’ve tried to pick 7 of the key opportunities and put some thought in to how they apply specifically to small businesses.

1. Real-time media buying
The intersection of location awareness, social media, and mobility is finally delivering the ability to target customers with incentives and coupons at the point of decision-making. This is compressing buying cycles and creating the need for more agile thinking and actions. Significantly for small enterprises, these tools are also providing a powerful way to listen to customers and understand trends and micro-trends as they pop up.
#TargetedAdvertising #SocialMarketing

2. Re-examining Digital Analytics
The ability to measure every click, tweet, and page view is both a blessing and curse. On one hand, there’s a wealth of potentially valuable information that can transform an enterprise. On the other hand, it’s incredibly easy for marketers and others to take their eye off the ball and chase the wrong metrics. Worse, it may encourage marketing to pursue similar initiatives that, in the long run, lead to increasingly poor results. Marketers are getting better about choosing relevant metrics but there is still a way to go. This promises to be the year to re-examine metrics.

3. Enter Intrapreneurialism
The most successful organisations recognise the need to be highly agile and flexible. The problem is that simply decreeing a need to be innovative or assigning employees to address the task doesn’t necessarily produce results. Consequently, some organisations are revamping conventional marketing practices and allowing small and ad-hoc teams to compete for new projects or initiatives that are on the leading edge of conventional and digital marketing. The company may assemble and disassemble these groups in a matter of weeks or months, and provide incentives and rewards for new and successful ideas that translate into marketing wins. The goal is to build a more organic way to incubate and implement ideas.

4. Social Media comes of age
Many marketers have turned to social media to promote their brands and dive into reputation management, so now the area is evolving rapidly. Loyalty programs, transactional marketing efforts, big data, and analytics are a few of the areas becoming enmeshed with social. As a result, businesses need to consciously think about ways to capture consumer profiles and data. Many have taken the first steps by focusing on Facebook likes. The next steps focus more on yield. The goal is to move away from solely focusing on new customer acquisition and toward the retention of existing and best customers.

5. Opening up the Digital Wallet
So far, the long-promised digital wallet has lagged behind expectations. Google Wallet, Square, Apple, and others have introduced electronic payment, loyalty, and couponing systems, but there’s no single solution that works everywhere and all of the time. Don’t expect anything revolutionary in 2013, but, at the same time, small businesses should keep their eye on the wallet.The most enticing component of the digital wallet, particularly for small retailers/traders, is transactional marketing — an area where Apple, in particular, is quietly making progress with its Passbook app. There’s no reason why businesses should be handing out punch-out loyalty cards when they can use customer analytics to build a loyalty program that segments their best customers and markets to them individually based on past purchase history.

6. Begin Operation Reputation Management
The rise of social media, including blogs and review sites, has created a need to monitor posts and gauge consumer sentiment. 2013 promises to be the year when companies really stand up and take notice of their online reputation and invest in ways to improve it*.
#DigitalPR #PersonalBranding

7. Digesting Big Data

The buzz over big data has been nothing short of deafening. It has beckoned with the promise of delivering a better understanding of customers and the overall business. Unfortunately, “There is still a lot of naivety and inexperience; a lot of companies are clueless about how to unlock the value that’s tucked away in their data. However, better tools and greater knowledge about how to apply big data concepts means the landscape is changing rapidly. Organizations that tear down data silos and create more efficient ways to connect all of the dots will unlock exponential gains over the next few years.

*See Improving Your Online Reputation

[via CMO.com]

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