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Marketing Tactics

Leverage These Top Marketing Trends

From geotargeting to mobile apps and social media, here’s what you need to consider now.

Susan Gunelius

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Marketing

As the global economy struggles to correct itself, and social-media marketing becomes a strategic imperative, small businesses will have exciting opportunities to expand in new directions this year.

Staying Ahead of the Game

The need for trust, value and brand transparency, among other trends from last year, are just as important today. But the current shift to geotargeting, mobile marketing and online reputation management require that small businesses modify their plans to surpass competitors.

Here are ten marketing trends that small businesses should incorporate now to be positioned for success from the start.

1. Building reliable brand advocates.

The idea that you need tens of thousands of Twitter followers, blog subscribers, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends to build your business via social media is dead. Quality connections with those who are loyal to the business and the brand are far more helpful to spread your message than large groups of connections who disappear after the first interaction.

2. Excelling in one area rather than being all things to all people.

This will be a year for SMEs to focus on their unique niches and position themselves as the definitive source for information, products and services related to the specific places in the markets where they operate.

3. Creating quality content as a viable marketing tool.

Social media marketing and content marketing go hand-in-hand, and this is the year businesses will create useful content that adds value to the online conversation and to people’s lives. The web is a cluttered place. Amazing content is essential to break through the noise.

4. Moving more marketing rands to social media.

Statistics show that large and small companies are spending more budget rands on social media and other digital marketing initiatives than ever before. Consumers spend more time online than ever and to reach them and stay competitive, SMEs need to have a presence on the social web.

5. Tracking brand reputations on the social web in greater detail.

Social media has given consumers a large platform to voice their opinions, and SME owners are realising the importance of actively monitoring their reputation on the web. With dashboards and social media aggregators like Hootsuite and Spredfast, it’s easier than ever for SMEs to develop, nurture and track their status online.

6. Increase in branded online experiences to meet diverse consumer needs.

Simply having a Twitter account or Facebook page isn’t enough this year. SMEs must surround consumers with branded online destinations such as a blog, LinkedIn profile, YouTube channel, Flickr profile and so on. Consumers can then pick and choose how they want to interact with your brand. Of course, quality trumps quantity, so extending a brand across the social web must be done strategically to maximise opportunities without compromising content and communications.

7. Pursuing mobile marketing.

There is absolutely no doubt this is the year of mobile marketing. While still in its infancy, it is the marketing imperative of the future. With mobile advertising, branded mobile apps and mobile marketing apps like Foursquare, consumers will expect businesses to have a mobile presence in 2011.

8. Geotargeting and localised marketing will become a top priority.

Local discount websites like MyCityDeal.co.za and collectivecow.com make it easy for consumers to find deals and reviews about businesses in their neighbourhoods and beyond. Google Ad words allow you to target regions and cities to minimise wastage. Creating targeted, local marketing campaigns using these popular tools will become the norm this year.

9. Accepting that silo marketing is ineffective.

Offline, online and mobile marketing initiatives create an opportunity to lead consumers from one message to another by integrating those strategies. You can drive a significantly higher return on investment by cross-promoting branded online destinations, discounts, contests and events.

10. Co-marketing to boost returns and lower marketing costs.

The economy is still struggling, which means small businesses can benefit from economies of scale by partnering with complementary businesses to develop co-marketing programmes in 2011. Promotional partnerships not only lead to reduced costs but can also lead to increased exposure to new audiences.

Seize the Moment

This year, all businesses will be experimenting with a variety of online, localised and mobile marketing initiatives. Remember, even if you’re not leveraging marketing trends and opportunities, your competitors are.

Overcome The Upskill Challenge

Not sure how to implement a social media strategy? Here are a few resources you can access:

1. Take a course

Quirk Education, partnering with the University of Stellenbosch Business School, offers a course in Applying Social Media to Business Challenges. Visit www.quirk.biz

2. Online learning
Implement your own online marketing strategy with GetSmarter’s online University of Cape Town Internet Marketing Course. Visit www.getsmarter.co.za

3. Read a book

Tamara Weinberg’s “The New Community Rules” includes hundreds of tips on how to implement a successful social media campaign. Available on kalahari.net

With nearly 20 years of marketing, branding and copywriting experience, Susan Gunelius is also an entrepreneur.

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Marketing Tactics

Ask These 3 Questions To Determine Where To Spend Your Marketing Budget

Stretching your marketing budget is imperative, especially when there aren’t that many marketing rands to stretch.

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As you grow your business, it’s important to be creative and efficient with your money. When it comes to marketing, there are a number of cost-effective ways to spend and save your money. So, if you’re worried about marketing on a limited budget, here’s some helpful info to know.

First, great marketing is about highlighting wants and needs and attaching them to desired outcomes. It’s possible to do that regardless of budget — and every company’s strategy will be different.

For example, when my consultancy worked with Dollar Shave Club to grow its platform beyond viral videos, we focused on establishing a unique voice, which led to creating an editorial component. When we worked with Arnold Schwarzenegger on his fitness and nutrition products, we focused on creating a core mission and understanding why he was involved in the product. And when we worked with Four Sigmatic to market its coffees and teas, we focused on customer acquisition and retention.

Related: 5 Ways To Market Your Business On A Limited Budget

3 Questions that Cut Through the Clutter

Those projects all started with the same three questions: What is the value and purpose of your product or service? Who is your target audience? And what is the best platform on which to reach them? That’s where you’ll want to invest most of your attention before you determine where to spend your money. (Notice my word choice: Your planning is an investment; where you spend is a cost.)

1. In general, we prefer to use digital campaigns

It’s easier to track what works and what doesn’t. Plus, digital creates multiple opportunities to engage. Think of it this way: 10% of your audience will buy, 10% won’t and 80% will be on the fence. Would you rather have one shot to convince that 80%, or multiple? By retargeting through something like Facebook ads or Google, or even creating a distribution channel like an email list, you can communicate repeatedly.

2. If you don’t have an audience, spend money fishing in small ponds where you know you can get a bite, and then set yourself up to communicate repeatedly

(This is where creating content as a form of acquisition or building an email list can be incredibly valuable.) Depending on your product or service, this could mean a very targeted ad to a small audience on Facebook — rather than attempting to reach millions — or setting up a pop-up shop, or getting a spot at a local farmers’ market.

Related: 4 Unique Marketing Ideas For SMEs On A Budget

3. If you already have an audience, turn them into super-fans who will bring their peers into your universe

Identify previous buyers and give them direct access to you through focus groups or calls. Reward them for their time with product or a gift certificate. When you show your consumer that you care about and appreciate them, it not only increases the likelihood of repurchase but also helps them personally invest in the soul of the business. Not to mention, their insights will help you understand why they bought and how to replicate that process.

Whatever you do — and no matter how big or small your budget — keep finding better answers to the core marketing questions and your success won’t hinge on any one platform.

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Marketing Tactics

Gen Z Is Coming! Are You Ready?

How do you market your company to this generation?

Stuart Scanlon

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young-generation

According to the CNBC, about 61 000 Gen Zers are on the verge of entering the workforce and consumer market in the US alone.

They are digital natives; they have grown up in a world of vines, txts (yes, we know) and internet. Their attention span is shorter than ever, they are more connected than any other generation, and they are brilliant multitaskers. Gen Z is a more tolerant generation but also more cautious; studies have found less risk-taking amongst this group and an increase in thoughtfulness and questioning authority.

So, on the one side of this coin, how do you market your company to this generation?

1. By being transparent

Be upfront about your business, what you’re doing and how you’re doing it. They have lost faith in corporations. Thus, you must stop relying on and hiding behind small print. Yes, you need terms and conditions to protect your company, but when it looks like a miracle weight-loss advert of the 80s (“Eat anything you want just take this pill. Ts&Cs apply.”), you’ll lose customers.

Related: Investing in Young Entrepreneurs

Gen Z consumers want to see you are real; they don’t want models or celebrities but regular people who can assist them in a manner that speaks to them. And they will hold your business is socially accountable. Instead of producing millions of T-shirts at the cheapest possible price, they want local, equality and free-trade, and they want to know what businesses are doing for the environment and society.

Gen Z won’t accept your claims at your word; they want to see evidence in your company culture.

2. By offering options

A jewellery purchasing study has found that most Gen Zers don’t have a preferred shopping platform. What this means is your messaging, availability and culture need to be spread evenly across all contact points – sales, call centres, website and digital advertising. In fact, many Gen Z consumers rely on mixing their contact points.

That being said, they want immediate action. If they see something they want online, they will go to the shop just to have the item right now. More than immediacy, they also want custom-made or made-to-order products and services. They shy away from traditional made-to-stock methods, which creates plenty of room in the production industry.

3. By being forward thinking

We have to always remember what was mind-blowing inventions to other generations are the norm for Gen Zers. They hold brands and businesses to high expectations, and instead of being loyal to brands, expect brands to be loyal to them. As Gen Z is more focused on individuality, they are also proving to be a generation with a high entrepreneurial output. All this shows that they don’t want the norm; they don’t crave what’s new today, they want tomorrow, sustainability and innovation, and they want it now.

On the other side of the coin, how do you attract this generation to work at your company? In much the same way.

1. By being transparent

As much as you are hiring them based on what they bring to the table, so too are they looking at what you can afford them. But, they don’t just want to hear you tell them about the benefits, they want to see it – and they are not after just money. Gen Zers want to be financially secure, but also one that is fulfilling; one where they find purpose in their jobs and company.

2. By offering options

Gen Z employees don’t want to work eight to five, they don’t want to be chained to a desk, and they don’t want to be micro-managed. Give them flexibility on how they want to conduct their work and how they can communicate with their colleagues. Create an understanding workspace for their needs and help them improve their skills – for instance, it’s been reported that a stumbling block for Gen Zers is communication. Growing up with emojis and text messages make face-to-face conversations, business calls and writing emails difficult for them.

Gen Z employees want to work hard and grow their skills. Even though they’re growing up in a super-paced society, they want to climb the corporate ranks at the given speed. What they crave, with urgency, is gaining value from their jobs.

Related: The Z Generation

3. By being forward thinking

They are lateral thinkers, and their creativity is not just outside the box but has broken the box completely. Gen Z is incredibly tech-savvy, and they will challenge the systems and procedures you have in place if these are not providing the needed speed and data required. Thus, they crave to work in an environment where they can push boundaries and ultimately help the company move forward. Hiring from the Gen Z pool can provide you with innovative insights into your business that can grow it towards tomorrow’s giants.

The only way to be sure you are future-proofing your business is by guaranteeing it caters for future customers and employees, by relying on forward-thinking enterprise resource planning software, for instance. Epicor ERP software ensures that their clients stay agile and innovative through trusting top minds to build and develop intelligent systems that open doors for Gen Zers. It’s Epicor’s innate tech-savviness that allows them to visualise the landscape of tomorrow and develop the software to support it today.

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Marketing Tactics

Free Sample Marketing Plan Template

You don’t need an MBA to write a marketing plan for your business. While no two businesses are alike, all solid marketing plans need to provide specific information. Use this sample marketing plan template to get you started on the right foot and cover all the essential information.

Tracy Lee Nicol

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Your marketing plan should provide a comprehensive blueprint of the business, its market and associated market activity, its position in the market, target and expected customers, offerings, competition, solutions and contingency plans.

Using a sample Marketing Plan Template can save you a lot of time in creating your own marketing plan.

Download a Sample Marketing Plan Template

Use the free templates below to help make sure you’ve covered all the important bits:

Download Our Free Marketing Plan Template Here.

PDF-download-marketing-template

Recommended Marketing Reads: 


Related: Beginners Guide To Digital Marketing In South Africa

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