Every business aims to build strategies which will add to the promotion of their brands and services. These strategies or marketing ideas are called as the marketing principles, in which companies establish an effective strategy which would help them in achieving market success. While many companies follow the 4P strategy (product, price, place and promotion), not every company follows the same principle. Nevertheless, the pillars of these marketing principles remain same every year, but the tools used by businesses to achieve them might vary.
Earlier, newspaper advertising was a commonplace for brands to promote their business. But as changing times, calls for a change, digital advertising and artificial intelligence has now taken the front seat in promoting market tactics of businesses. These technological advancements are easier for big firms to catch upon, but for small businesses it takes a while to analyse and learn. The current times calls for small businesses to bring in technological advancements in their business. The main technological traits which small businesses can look forward to this year, are:
1. Focus on authentic marketing - Small businesses which are tight on budget, should focus on providing content which will interest their audience. Authentic content acts as a powerful marketing tool. Small businesses should focus on adding blogs to their websites about their products and brands. They should write about the topics which would create interest in the minds of their customers. This not only would create brand awareness, but also will establish customer loyalty. Focusing on just sales is not the best solution, whether it is a social media post, a blog or an email blast, ensuring balance between highlighting the products and providing valuable advice should be the objective.
2. Use of chatbots is increasing. According to a report, 69% of U.S. consumers preferably use chatbots when engaging with brands as it yields a speedy response. Despite the consumer’s preference towards it, many small businesses do not use such technology. For small businesses which run tight on the workforce, having a chatbot on their website is highly beneficial. It can answer customer’s basic questions at all hours, even if the focus is on different tasks. AI- powered chatbots have now become so lifelike that many customers do not even realise the difference. Such bots also add the benefit of being able to gather and provide actionable data which can be used to provide customer experience.
3. Mobile devices and voice services, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant have been increasing in popularity. Voice search has become one such area where small businesses can stand out among their competitors. When mobile phones arrived, marketers adapted to their growing use, as it eased communication with their customers. Now, as voice searches are becoming a trend, marketers will need to adapt to these changes too.
4. Access to consumer data has now become very easy. Brands can now access consumers online and access their offline media behaviours, preferences, locations, purchase history, etc. This allows for brands to customise messages and images. Marketers need to learn how to use this data to their benefit. As customers share such information with the brands, they often demand some sort of return, such as personalised advertisements or coupon deals etc. Hence, companies should focus on gathering and utilising intent data. Intent data is information specifically about a person or company's activities. It can be gathered from a company website by looking at which pages a customer visited, how long they stayed on those pages, and which links they clicked or procured from a third party. Intent data can be used to prioritize the best customer prospects and create more personalized campaigns to drive better conversion.
5. Social media will continue to be vital to successful companies’ digital marketing efforts. Social media allows for one-to-one communication with customers. Influencer marketing has been increasing significantly. Small businesses can approach micro influencers to appeal to their target audience. This creates a sense of loyalty with the customers, and makes the company more authentic. Instead of just giving news or information regarding their products, it makes the engagement more meaningful.
6. Modern customers expect an engaging, user-friendly and smooth online experience, whenever they approach any brand’s website. Therefore, more emphasis should be laid on personalisation and speed, to create a seamless and highly engaging UX. Speed, visual stability, mobile-friendliness and safe browsing should be the key factors which businesses should focus on.
While the above technological factors will surely have an influence on how businesses perform, it does not mean in any way, that businesses should drop the strategies they are following now. One needs to understand that technology should magnify the company’s process, not eliminate it. Every year, new marketing tools will unveil, but word-of-mouthing still matters. Changes in technology haven't altered the core concepts of marketing, but the new technology does magnify every triumph and failure. Before adding technological tools in the business one needs to understand their use, only then one can use it to their benefit.
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