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A Decade of Marketing Knowledge

2018 marks the 10thanniversary of owning my own business. During this time period, I have weathered a recession, opened a second office and worked with fantastic clients who are supportive, yet direct.  I thank them and my team for our collective success.  From a marketing perspective, I’ve learned that change is constant.  Admittedly, I do my best to keep up with the latest trends in this industry, but it can be a full-time job.  Don’t get me wrong, technology and the digital marketing platforms available today can make a CMO’s job easier.  The challenge, and honestly the part that energizes me, is striking a balance between traditional and digital marketing strategies that attract and engage customers.

Here are a few pearls of wisdom from telling stories for the past decade.

A House to call Home

Mobility has led information access literally to our fingertips. Having an established space online that can answer the basic necessities of a customer is paramount to doing business today.  According to Google, 96% of people use their smartphones to conduct searches.  This online home allows you to showcase your company quickly and connect with key social platforms to introduce you and your staff.  LinkedIn specifically comes to mind, but the platforms are always changing and evolving. Apps are another platform that fit this bill, but from my experience, the technology available for mobile-friendly websites typically can address the needs of an app and can usually save you money and time, depending upon your customer focus and industry.

For example, if you work in a traditional industry like construction, buying services or encouraging customers to visit an app is unlikely.  However, if you are in retail or other consumer products markets, an app could make perfect sense because you can securely showcase/sell your product or create a rewards program within a closed platform.

Where is your customer?

Know who your customer is and where they consume information.  When developing strategies that reach various audiences, the key is to be in the same arena.  This is vital to both a digital effort and a traditional approach.  Not knowing where your customer is bad for business and ultimately wastes money.

There is NO silver bullet

Yes, everyone is on social media.  The data doesn’t lie, however, if you are selling HVAC services to residential customers, don’t solely focus on social media and spend the majority of your budget here without testing the waters.  You would be better served investing in a new truck and technician, and then supporting his/her efforts with more traditional outreach.

We have all read the data behind social media – Twitter has hit a wall in terms of growth; Instagram and Snapchat are the new hot platforms; Facebook has ruined our faith in the news – and the numbers are impressive.  Yet, I still find the majority of business owners fail to ask the question posed in the header from the previous section and, more importantly, do not ask this follow-up question, will my customers buy my product or service on these platforms?

Find New Ways to Connect

As technology evolves and improves, there is a multitude of options to connect.  From podcasts to geotargeted email campaigns, connecting with people today is easier than ever.  What I have learned from developing strategies or reviewing a creative effort is to question if a tactic will meet the goals.  Will it connect with my target audience?  For example, I have written about the use of technology for the right reasons, and I continue to be surprised when potential clients ask about incorporating virtual reality into a campaign.  VR makes tremendous sense for an autonomous vehicle manufacturer or a software developer, but not so much for a food manufacturer.  Who really wants to see the sausage being made.

Podcasts are a fantastic option.  In fact, podcast listeners are among the most loyal consumers of data.  I anticipate the usage of this method will only increase as Alexa, Siri and Google Home become more widespread.

My big takeaways from the last 10 years include having a mobile-friendly presence, understanding who is buying your product/service and where they consume information, realizing not every business should rely on social media and connecting with your audience is ever-changing.  Best of luck and may you hit milestones as well. And remember… beyond all the bells and whistles the latest technology provides, it still comes down to telling a good story and knowing how to build a connection.

This article was previously written by Chris Martin and appeared in TEQ Magazine.