Every competitive business in the 21st century has a marketing budget (at least you should, penny pincher). The problem is that some of those budgets are being used incorrectly. While the technology for businesses to thrive has leapt forward into the internet age, marketing strategies often hesitate to follow suit. With every market turn, uncertainties arise that keep cash for marketing development in the bank or in other marketing avenues that may become obsolete. We can see the negative effects of that in the plights of Blockbuster and Borders Books, who are being run into bankruptcy by the surpassing technology of competitors like Netflix and the Amazon Kindle (respectively).
I try to never be a fire and brimstone businessman, but for regions like Metro Atlanta with populations knocking at the door of 6 million, you’re going to be facing an increasingly competitive and saturated market for your industry. When businesses miss the market turn, they generally suffer.
I also don’t want to give you the impression that if you don’t stay on top of every piece of cutting edge technology that you can throw cash at, you’re going to go out of business. There is a healthy balance of organic and marketing-driven business that you should pursue, and there is some marketing strategies that is much cheaper that others; but they are also not as comprehensive nor do they land on every target. For instance, word of mouth is always a strong tool to utilize for new business, but it can only go so far without a drive from your company itself to propel it to new prospective clients. There is a point where you need to break out the checkbook and start exploring new ways to gain more business.
With the latest turn bringing us into a more comprehensive internet market, we’re seeing things like Yellow Pages, TV ads (unless it’s the Super Bowl), and print ads (unless handed out in a crowd) all falling in effectiveness and, consequentially, in value. Traditional marketing is simply no longer trustworthy to bring in new business in a constant and stable manner as it once did. This is because in the last 5 years, we’ve seen the introduction of new generations of smart phones, computers, cable services, billboards, search engines, social media, and websites that have created new and more comprehensive ways to market businesses.
(Granted I’m writing as an SEO specialist, you can probably guess what I’m going to say next.)
I think that the two most important avenues of marketing that have risen over the past 5 years are new standards for websites, and their subsequent interaction in search engines. I believe that these two are the most important because the other avenues are largely dependent on them.
The design and format standards of websites along with the integration and functionality of search engines has dictated the types of software and functionality in our smart phones, the integration of our cable services (that now work off of internet, and can surf the web), the design and integration of new digital billboards, the software and functionality of our computers and new tablet PCs, and the depth and breadth of involvement on social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Internet technology is setting the bar for the rest of consumer tech.
Knowing this, you can see the importance of having a presence on the internet. If you are established on the web, the rest of technology will change to accommodate you, rather than leave you behind.
The moral of the story is that in a 21st century market, you’re not just competing against other companies in your industry; you’re competing against the trends of the market and the psychology of consumers. The most effective way to market your business is to establish your business on the internet and let technology work for you. Evaluate your marketing, establish a budget, and consult a professional (Me!) about how you can start making the market work for you by establishing your presence on the web.