The Future of Digital Marketing: Five Trends to Leverage a Small Business Opportunity

Jameson General Store was a historical treasure in the small North Carolina Community. Jim Jameson, the owner, had been part of the family legacy over 100 years old. The company had seen bad times, including The Great Depression. However, their hard work and customer loyalty had sustained the company’s success.

Even when a neighboring community got its Walmart’s Marketplace Store, their customers remained loyal. Jim did not believe in utilizing online advertising and social media platforms. He believed that these activities were only a fad. Yet, their customers gradually started shopping online because Jameson General Store was limited in its product offerings.

In fact, most of the business that Jameson Store lost was not to local competitors, but online sellers. Jim was adamant about resisting the temptation about shopping online. Yet, when he saw his own 10-year-old grandson purchase a difficult item to locate in the area online at significant costs, Jim had to ponder his current marketing strategy with the changing landscape in the nation.

Today’s customers can purchase a variety of items online with minimum effort. Given this scenario, brick and mortar companies are fighting to stay alive with the fierce internet competition. According to a 2017 survey conducted by Square and Mercury Analytics looking at 1,164 U.S. business owners, the following observations were made:

  • 96% of Americans with internet access have made an online purchase in their life, 80% in the past month alone.
  • 51% of Americans prefer to shop online.
  • 67% of Millennials and 56% of Gen Xers prefer to shop online rather than in-store.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers spend nearly 50% as much time shopping online each week (six hours) than their older counterparts (four hours).
  • 51% of seniors have shopped on marketplaces, 66% at large retailer sites, 30% on web stores or independent boutiques, and 44% at category-specific online stores.

Marketing professionals understand the importance of the internet and how to effectively leverage this power. According to Socialmedia.com, 90% of marketers use social media for their businesses. Sadly, many small businesses do not recognize this fact. Many businesses had opted to bury their heads in the sand in hopes that this ‘internet thing’ will go away. It hadn’t!

In fact, e-Commerce is growing more than 23% annually; however, 46% of American small businesses do not have a website according to Square and Mercury Analytics research. This article focuses on how small businesses can leverage digital marketing to achieve greater success and enhance their market opportunities.

Digital marketing should be a tool that every serious small business should utilize. Digital marketing goes by many names such as e-commerce marketing, online marketing, and internet marketing. Digital marketing can be defined as “the marketing of products or services using digital channels to reach consumers.” The key objective is to promote brands the usage of the internet.

Digital marketing extends beyond internet marketing to include channels that do not require the use of the internet. Some digital marketing channels include websites, social media platforms, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, podcasts, and online advertising to name a few. Beyond technology gimmicks, businesses should know their customers and their core competencies. Digital marketing is not a silver bullet. Digital marketing is a tool for the savvy business professional.

Catherine Juan, Donnie Greiling, and Catherine Buerkle, authors of Internet Marketing: Start to Finish, suggest that effective digital marketing requires plenty of careful planning. They add, “The heart of getting real traction out of your internet marketing program is to tie marketing and sales data together, with metrics. Track what you’re doing, track the impact, and track the resulting sales.” Looking at the landscape of technology and internet innovation, small businesses should think strategically about the following five digital marketing trends:

Artificial Intelligence – Some people develop elaborate doom-day scenarios of machines to control the world. However, artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a way of life in marketing. AI can be defined as ‘the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence.’ Voice Activation technology like Amazon’s Echo is bringing AI into public attention. By 2020, customers will manage 85% of their purchases without interacting with a person.

Internet Searching – Buyers are more knowledgeable than ever with access to the internet. In fact, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making big purchases. Thus, exploring how to utilize search engine optimization and getting your business at the top of searches is an invaluable step.

Mobile Communications – Most Americans have grown accustomed to instant gratification and easy access to technology. Mobile and tablet e-commerce will reach $293B by 2018. Smartphone and tablets are part of this wave of innovation. Mobile will account for 72% of the U.S. digital ad spend by 2019. Marketers recognize that mobile marketing is an untapped business tool.

Social Media – Social media platforms, like Facebook, allows buyers to connect with each other virtually. 65% of business-to-business companies have acquired customers through LinkedIn ads. Marketers realize this value.

Web Content – Good content will attract customers. In fact, customers are more likely to purchase from sellers with good, relevant videos/photos on their website. 52% of marketing professionals globally name the video as the type of content with the best ROI.

Faced with the tenants of competition, small businesses need to utilize digital marketing. Some small businesses may be hesitant to explore digital marketing due to their lack of trust and understanding of the internet. Philip Kotler and Kevin Keller, authors of Marketing Management, note “Top firms are comfortable using technology to improve the way they do business with their business-to-business customers.”

This article demonstrated that today’s small businesses can utilize digital marketing to enhance their market opportunities. Hopefully, gaining this knowledge will help business owners so that they will not continue to bury their heads in the sand. The internet is here to stay. Pray that you are listening to this message.

© 2017 by DD Green

The Simple Way To Market Any Business

You’ve no doubt heard about the K.I.S.S. principle – “Keep it simple, Stupid.” Or as I like to say… “keep it simple, silly.”

K.I.S.S. has been around the block a few times. In fact, it was a design principle noted by the US Navy in the 1960s.

The phrase was coined by aircraft engineer Kelly Johnson. It’s nice to note that Johnson was the lead engineer at the Lockheed Skunk Works (creators of the Lockheed U-2 and SR-71 spy planes).

Though the acronym has been used mostly by the US military, namely the U.S. Navy and United States Air Force, civilians, businesses and lots of other groups use it too.

Heck, I bet you’ve used it a few times yourself.

We all tend to over complicate things, including myself.

But I prefer simple any day and twice on Sunday. When tackling any problem, my number one rule is to start with the simple basics first (is the power on? Is the lamp is plugged into the electrical outlet?)

And you’d be amazed at how effective the simple way of doing things can be. After all, you can always complicate the hell out of things later, if you like.

You’ll be pleased to learn “simple” also works in marketing your biz too! Truth be told, simple has taken me a long, long way in the marketing of my business.

Let me explain…

The Three Pillars Of Good Marketing

OK. Let’s break this down into, you know, simple terms. You can easily and simply market any product or service if you examine the 3 pillars of marketing.

But before I go into details, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due. While, I’d love to think that I’m a marketing and advertising whizz, truth be told, I’m scratching the surface here.

What I have learned came from the true geniuses of the game. The guys who figured it out and have been in the marketing trenches for decades.

With that said, what you’re about to learn came from marketing top-gun Dan Kennedy. I recommend that you get your hands on any books, programs or live events he puts on. It’s nothing less than pure gold.

OK. On with the show. The pillars of good marketing are:

Message

Market

Media

Let’s talk briefly about each one.

Pillar 1. Message. This is the “what” you say to your prospects or clients. It’s the communication part of the equation of good marketing. If you get this wrong, then your efforts won’t necessarily fail but will suffer greatly in terms of results and sales.

Keep in mind, even if you have a great message and you shoot it to the wrong market, it’s going to land upon deaf ears. And you’re wasting marketing bullets… time, money and other resources.

Pillar 2. Market. The is the “who” you want to sell to. It’s the group of people most likely to be interested and willing buy your stuff. These are the prospects you are communicating with and who will receive your sales messages (sales letters, print ads, landing pages etc.)

So, your mission is to match your message to the correct market using the correct media.

As you know privacy is essentially dead these days. So, getting the names and addresses for nearly any target market is a fairly simple process.

Mailing lists comes in all shapes and sizes today. If you know what market you want to go after, you’re likely to find a list. It’s just a matter of contacting a list broker and describing who you’re looking for.

For example, If you are looking for people who are at least 7 feet tall, drive a BMW, live in South Carolina and subscribe to Psychology Today, you can get that list. It may not be a very large list, but nevertheless it still exists.

Pillar 3. Media. This the delivery system. It’s the vehicle that your message rides in. Think: magazines, newspapers, newsletters, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and list goes on forever it seems.

The best way to select which media to use, starts with the market. Are you targeting folks over the age of 65? There’s a good chance they do not use social media as a primary medium.

Yes, they very well may have a Facebook account, but this is not their main means of communicating or staying in touch with others.

They do read the local paper and use their cell phone regularly. They probably listen to the radio and watch TV.

But the only way to truly know is to ask your clients and prospects.

How To Target Your Market

One popular way that business owners use to target their market is by geographic.

Using geographic marketing you choose your market based on a specific location, for example, businesses within a 10-mile radius. This is a very simple way to choose your targets but it’s like dropping flyers out of a plane and hoping one lands with the right person.

Yes, a bit of an exaggeration but with a few simple tweaks, you can make your geographic marketing more effective. And you can do this by using…

… Demographic targeting. Demographic targeting is selecting people by age, gender, how much money they have, whether they are conservative or liberal, or what religion they are, single or married and so on.

Next, you have psychographics. Psychographics deals customer behavior, attitudes, interests and lifestyles. It’s useful when segmenting your market. This can be very powerful (and effective). Plus, it allows you to customize your marketing messages based on whatever market segment you are going after.

Hey, you could combine all three. And many of the cloud based programs, such as Adobe Marketing Cloud, Salesforce, HubSpot, Marketing 360 and more do just that. You could also check some of the open source solutions.

Again, you don’t have to get all “techie” just be sure you have details such as their contact info, and carefully track how much they spend, what they buy and how often. Simple with Excel.

Of course, I could go way deep into this topic, but staying the “simple” approach, suffice to say keep good customer lists, learn what your prospects and clients want and become the “go-to” company that fills their needs.

So, the next time you start a new marketing campaign, consider the ideas presented here. If you are tired of dumping big bucks down the advertising toilet and you’d like more profitable results, then I encourage you to give me a shout. Do you have questions about this article or would like to see a subject covered? Again, just shoot me a line. I’m always happy to help.

Yours for higher response,

Emette E. Massey

The Market Approaches a Top – What Can Be Expected?

Previously, I discussed reasons our economy would go through a major downturn.[1] My study of major bear markets[2] indicates that after a market top and drop, such as the one we have experienced since January 26, there is a second top coming within -2.6% and +2.9% of the first. This marks the beginning of a major bear market. Having arrived at the traditional topping range, what can we reasonably expect moving forward?

What follows is a summary of market behavior for every major bear market since 1929 that, like ours, was preceded by a correction. There are six of them starting in 1929, 1937, 1946, 1969, 2000, and 2007. S&P 500 data is used for the 1968, 2000, and 2007 bear markets. Dow Jones closing data[3] was used for all bear markets before that.

1929
The largest drops for this market were (trading days from the peak given in parentheses) 13.5%(12), 11.7%(13), 9.9%(17), 6.8%(20), and 6.3%(9). The 30-day average change was -1.07%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 15.1%. By day 30 it was 31.0%.

1937
The largest drops for this market were 5.0%(18), 4.5%(15), 4.3%(28), 4.1%(24), and 3.1%(20). The 30-day average change was -0.68%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 6.0%. By day 30 it was 19.1%.

1946
The largest drops for this market were 2.5%(15), 1.2%(13), 1.0%(30), 0.95%(14), and 0.77%(8). The 30-day average change was -0.13%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 0.9%. By day 30 it was 3.9%.

1968
The largest drops for this market were 1.4%(19), 0.92%(3), 0.90%(17), 0.89%(4), and 0.77%(18). The 30-day average change was -0.29%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 2.7%. By day 30 it was 8.4%.

2000
The largest drops for this market were 2.6%(28), 1.9%(24), 1.6%(27), 1.5%(19), and 1.4%(10). The 30-day average change was -0.33%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 5.0%. By day 30 it was 9.6%.

2007
The largest drops for this market were 2.9%(10), 2.6%(15), 2.5%(6), 1.8%(27), and 1.6%(29). The 30-day average change was -0.24%. By trading day 10 the % loss was 2.6%. By day 30 it was 7.3%.

All the bear markets declined gradually for the first week. In fact, it was rare to find a substantial drop during that first week. Except for 1969, none of the largest percentage drops took place during the first week and those were only 0.92% and 0.89%. Markets did begin to diverge during the second week with the 1929, 1937, and 2000 markets dropping 15.1%, 6.0%, and 5.0%, respectively, after 10 trading days.

Once the top was reached, there was no turning back. Instead, most markets had a steady decline. The only exception was the exceedingly volatile 1929 market, which declined 35% by the 13th day recovered 19% and subsequently resumed its decline. This is an important point for our market since the S&P 500 had an intraday high of 2801.90 March 13. This placed it within 2.5% of the January 26, 2018 high, just within the window for the second peak topping range. That would have placed that potential second peak historically early for a major bear market with a correction preamble. The fact 24 trading days later we are still waffling back and forth and in a recent uptrend is in stark contrast to previous major bear market profiles and argues against that being the second peak.

Note that, except for the 1929 market, which by that time was recovering, none of the markets had reached bear territory 30 trading days after the market peak. Technically, the 1937 market had dipped into bear territory days before it but was only sitting 19.1% below the peak by day 30. All the other markets were only approaching correction level territory.

Given that summary, it is likely that we will also experience a gradual decline with little damage the first week. In fact, with large loss days paling in comparison to those we saw in early January, it may well lull investors into a sense of complacency. Having gone through a long correction already, there will likely be little concern a month and a half later if the 30th trading day arrives with losses still in the single digits. That would be a mistake as the bear relentlessly creeps up on us.

[1] It’s Not Over, EzineArticles, April 9, 2018.
[2] The Coast Is Not Clear – Signs of an Impending Major Stock Market Crash, EzineArticles, February 20, 2018.
[3] Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS) was used to gather the Down Jones closing data and in preparing this article.